JUBA (AFP) - South Sudanese rebel chief George Athor has been killed in a clash with soldiers of the newly independent nation, Vice President Riek Machar said in a statement on Tuesday. One month after vowing to continue his battle against the Juba government, Athor died when a South Sudanese border patrol clashed with “elements” with him in Morobo County at about 1500 GMT on Monday, according to the statement. “George Athor and one other soldier were killed instantly,” Machar said, adding that Athor had been on a recruiting drive outside South Sudan but had sneaked back in. “His body is going to be handed over to his relatives for burial,” Machar said, calling on Athor’s followers to heed an amnesty and pardon declared in July.

 when the south formally became independent from Khartoum.

“I call on all who rebelled against the government to lay down their arms and join the process of peace and development,” Machar said.