I am ready for dialogue – Gatwech tells Chollo elders

I am ready for dialogue –  Gatwech tells Chollo elders
Simon Gatwech of Kitgwang Splinter Group (centre) shaking hands with one of Chollo elders. [Photo: Courtesy]

The chairman of SPLM/A-IO splinter faction, Kitgwang, Simon Gatwech, has assured the Chollo elders of his commitment to ceasefire, his close ally revealed.

The spokesperson of Gatwech, Alfred Gach Thot, said his boss was ready for the dispute resolution to bring peace in Upper Nile. This was upon the call of Chollo elders for a cessation of hostilities in Panyikang County.

“Gen Simon Gatwech Dual narrated the whole scenario and told Chollo Community elders that he is open and ready for peaceful settlement,” Gach stated in a statement shared on social media.

“The Council of Chollo expresses happiness and calls for a peaceful solution to end the ongoing military hostilities in Panyikang County and other affected areas.”

Early this month, the two feuding forces showed interest in mediation to end conflict between them.

Last week, the head of Agwelek forces in Juba, Dr Paul Achot Achobek, told The City Review that Olony had accepted President Kiir’s call for his return to Juba.

“Yes, he has accepted the President’s call.” He was supposed to be in Juba many months ago, but the delay was from the government, “he stated.

“What’s going on now in Panyikang County is for the control of the border between South Sudan and Sudan to block a lifeline route for the opposition groups that seek regime change.”

‘‘Gen. Olony wants our national government to take control of these borders prior to his coming to Juba.”

Alfred Gach of Kitgwang said Gatwech had ordered his forces to cease hostilities, and only respond in self-defense.

“There [are no hostilities] between the two forces (SPLA-IO Kitgwang Declaration and Agwelek Division). “Our Chairman and C-in-C Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual ordered his forces not to carry out an offensive unless through self-defense,” Gach stated.

On September 9, 2022, media reports indicated that the death toll after clashes at Adhidhiang Island IDP Camp, had risen to 17 people.

United Nations’ Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) deployed forces in the area and called for restraint from forces.

The two forces signed the Khartoum Peace Agreement in Khartoum, Sudan on January 16, 2022, for their integration into the SSPDF.

President Salva Kiir granted them amnesty and asked them to ask for forgiveness from the people of South Sudan.

Key in the agreement were relocation of Agwelek and Kitgwang forces from Northern Upper Nile and deployment of police to protect the area from further hostilities.

The agreement included the return of the land boundaries of Chollo community to the boundaries of 1/1/1956.