Tired of war: Gatwech, Olony seek solution to conflict after prolonged tension
Warring Kitgwang and Agwelek forces are now calling on the national government to intervene if a solution to the conflict that have displaced thousands of civilians in the Upper Nile State could be reached.
Kitgwang forces are under the command of Gen Simon Gatwech while those of Agwelek play allegiance to Johnson Olony.
Paul Achot Achobek, the head of the Agwelek delegation in Juba told City Review that they “have never refused to coexist,” referring to the previous interviews where he noted that Simon Gatwech was their leader despite deadlock.
“We’ve never refused to coexist. We insisted, and you know it, that Gen Gatwech was still our leader. Gen Gatwech is free to exist in Lou Nuer not where he’s displacing civil population right now,” Achot said.
The spokesperson of Kitgwang forces, Alfred Gach Thot, said Agwelek forces were no longer part of SPLM/A-IO Kitgwang, terming them as a “group jeopardising peace.”
“The Agwelek division forces are no longer part of SPLA-IO Kitgwang. The presence of Gen Olony is a threat to any future peaceful settlement of the conflict.”
Gach noted that Kitgwang was ready for any peaceful settlement of the matter between the two former allied forces.
“The SPLM/A-IO Kitgwang is committed to peaceful resolutions and welcomes any meaningful engagement with government in Juba through any kinds of talks,” he added.
This come even as the two forces were locked in a deadly clashes. The battle, in Adhidhiang and Obyi IDP camps, in Panyikang County, Upper Nile State, resulted in the death of two people and three others injured.
“Gatwech forces came from the Adil area in which they reside and attacked the Adhidhiang camp, in which a large number of citizens who were displaced from the conflict areas in Tonga,” Mustafa Lual Gai, commissioner of Panyikang County.
“A large number of them have fled to different areas, and some of them have taken refuge in the sea, and this is also dangerous because of (floods).”
He dismissed allegations that about 300 people including children, women and the elderly lost lives in the attack in question.
“The information I took from the citizens I met and who fled from this attack indicates that it killed two people, and three others were injured, not 300 people, as reported on the websites.”
He noted that the situation was tense and he was coordinating with both parties to contain further attacks.
“I am still talking with the fleeing people from the Adidhiang area to know the true number of victims, injured and displaced people, and I will also address the concerned organizations to provide urgent aid to the displaced,” the commissioner concluded.
On January 16, 2022, Agwelek and Kitgwang forces signed an agreement with the government for the integration of their forces into the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF).
However, these forces have been complaining that the agreement dubbed “Khartoum Peace Agreement” had not moved a single step forward.
President Salva Kiir Mayardit months ago said that the government was committed to implementing Khartoum Peace Agreement.