David Yau Yau

David Yau Yau
David Yau Yau.png
Yau Yau during his time as insurgent leader
Chief Administrator of Greater Pibor
In office
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Governor of Boma State
In office
Preceded byBaba Medan Konya
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Personal details
Political partySudan People's Liberation Movement[1]
Other political
South Sudan Democratic Movement (until 2016)

David Yau Yau was a Governor of Boma State[2] and the Chief Administrator of the Greater Pibor Administrative Area of South Sudan.[3][4] He was previously the leader of a Murle insurrection against the South Sudanese government.

Early life and education

Yau Yau studied theology at Emmanuel Christian College in Yei from 2004 to 2006.[5]


In 2010, Yau Yau was employed as County Secretary by the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission in Pibor County. Yau Yau ran in the April 2010 Sudanese general election for the Gumuruk Boma seat in the Jonglei State Assembly. The SPLM candidate Judi Jonglei Bioris won by a wide margin.[5] Yau Yau is alternately reported to have been an independent candidate[5] and a member of the United Democratic Front opposition party.[6]

Insurgency and leadership of the Greater Pibor Administrative Area

Map showing insurgencies in northeastern South Sudan from 2010 to 2011. Areas affected by Yau Yau's rebellion in orange.

After his failed bid for the state assembly, Yau Yau accused the SPLM of fraud and voter intimidation. On 20 May 2010 he led an armed group in a clash with the SPLA. One casualty was reported by the SPLA. Yau Yau indicated that he was in contact with George Athor, another failed Jonglei candidate who led the South Sudan Democratic Movement (SSDM) into rebellion for similar reasons.[6]

Yau Yau signed a ceasefire with the GoSS in June 2011, which integrated him and his militia with the SPLA. He had the rank of Brigadier General in the SPLA. In April 2012 he defected again, and lead a Murle-dominated militia in the South Sudan internal conflict for several years.[7]

Yau Yau became the head of the Murle insurrection and the militia that he led became known as the "Cobra Faction" of the SSDM. A March 2014 peace accord with the GoSS appointed Yau Yau as the Chief Administrator of a newly established, semi-autonomous Greater Pibor Administrative Area, with virtually the same authority as South Sudan's state governors.[8]

He gave up the leadership of his Cobra Faction which was dissolved after merger with the SPLM-IO-allied Greater Pibor Forces in January 2016. After leaving the post of leader of Cobra Faction, he joined the SPLM with some of his former accomplices.[1][9][10]

Governor of Boma State and later career

In 2018, he was appointed gernor of Boma State.[2] Afterwards, the former troops of his private army were transported from Pibor to Juba to be fully integrated into the SPLA.[11] Yau Yau held his governorship until 2020,[12] when Boma State was dissolved.[13] The Greater Pibor Administrative Area was subsequently restored. Yau Yau continued to serve as a National Legislative Assembly member.[14]

In 2022, Yau Yau visited President Kiir's home state of Warrap with several of the president's aides. This was regarded by the news site African Arguments as possibly signalling that Kiir hoped to enlist Yau Yau's support for the 2023 South Sudanese general election.[15]


David Yau Yau is mentioned in the Enough Project's The Sentry, an initiative designed to gather evidence and analyze the financing and operation of African conflicts. He was accused of profiteering in South Sudan's Civil War by forming an oil company with two British citizens during his governorship of Boma State.[16] He denied the accusation.[17]


  1. ^ a b "Boma State governor says 'united' with Yauyau for peace". Radio Tamazuj. 18 June 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  2. ^ a b "3 ambassadors, 4 governors take oath of office in Juba". Radio Tamazuj. 5 February 2018. Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  3. ^ "Yau Yau Dissolves Part and Officially Joins SPLM". Gurtong. 12 January 2016. Archived from the original on 5 April 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Calm in Pibor after tension over 'disarmament' and governor". Eye Radio. 2 February 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Sudan Tribune & 2012-12-21.
  6. ^ a b McDoom 2010.
  7. ^ Holland 2012.
  8. ^ Sudan Tribune 2014.
  9. ^ "David Yau Yau surrenders Cobra-faction to a General linked to the SPLA-IO: Cobra-faction's splinter group". South Sudan News Agency. 12 January 2016.
  10. ^ Pibor's Yau Yau joins SPLM
  11. ^ "Kiir orders transportation of Yau Yau's forces to Juba". Radio Tamazuj. 5 May 2018. Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  12. ^ "Former Governors of Jonglei and Boma join hands for peace in and between their communities". UNMISS. 22 December 2020. Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  13. ^ Mutambo, Aggrey. "S. Sudan govt agrees to reduce states to 10 to maintain peace". The East African. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  14. ^ "Greater Pibor Administrative Area Political Retreat Convenes to Strengthen Unity, Reconciliation and Peace". UNDP. 15 September 2021. Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  15. ^ "The pawn who became king: How has Salva Kiir stayed at the top so long?". African Arguments. 16 February 2022. Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  16. ^ "Watchdog Report Claims Profiteers Have Looted Billions From South Sudan". Voice of America. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  17. ^ "Yau Yau denies forming oil company with foreign nationals". Radio Tamazuj. 26 September 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2022.


  • BBC (4 January 2012). "UN defends South Sudan Pibor role". BBC. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  • BBC (27 August 2012). "Rebels kill South Sudan troops". BBC. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  • Charbonneau, Louis; Michelle Nichols; Ulf Laessing (22 December 2012). "South Sudan admits it downed U.N. helicopter, killing four". Reuters. Juba. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  • Holland, Hereward (28 January 2013). "Two thousand flee as battle engulfs South Sudan town". Reuters. Juba. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  • McDoom, Opheera (25 May 2010). "UN evacuates 10 aid staff after south Sudan clashes". Reuters. Juba. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  • "Rebels kill 24 South Sudan soldiers, army says". Reuters. 27 August 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  • "South Sudan's Jonglei state suffering from conflict, flooding". News & Politics Examiner (USA). 3 October 2012. Archived from the original on 31 May 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  • "South Sudan: Rebels Recruiting Youth in Jonglei". VOA. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  • Holland, Hereward (30 September 2012). "Analysis: Jonglei revolt gives South Sudan a security headache". Reuters. Juba. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  • "South Sudan Government, Yau Yau Group Reach Peace Agreement". Sudan Tribune. 28 March 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  • "Bor Bishop regrets rebellion of his former pupil David Yau Yau". Sudan Tribune. 21 December 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2023.
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