Southern Sudan opens talks with rebel commander, hopes to contain violence before Jan. vote

JUBA, Sudan (AP) — The government of Southern Sudan is opening cease-fire talks with a commander who launched a revolt against the government following April elections.

Army spokesman Lt. Gen. Kuol Deim Kuol said Thursday the commander, David Yauyau, has requested a cease-fire and the southern military has accepted.

Yauyau said he would engage with southern leaders if "they are ready for solutions."

The uprisings of at least three men formerly associated with the southern government or security services have threatened to destabilize the region in the run-up to its January referendum on independence from the north.

Sudan's 21-year north-south civil war ended in 2005. Observers fear the January vote could trigger new violence.