Olony forces deny attacking SPLA-IO in Panyikang County

Olony forces deny attacking SPLA-IO in Panyikang County

The SPLMA-IO Kit-Gwang on Tuesday denied allegations by the Commissioner of Panyikang County that it had a role in the clashes that erupted in the town of Tonga.

The Chairperson for Political Affairs of SPLMA-1O Kit-Gwang, Dr. Paul Achot Achobek, said in a statement released yesterday that their forces were instead attacked by the forces of SPLM/A-IO, which they managed to repel, but they were not the aggressors.

“Our forces have neither left their bases nor attacked the town of Tonga. Since the tripartite assault on our forces by the forces of SPLM/A-IO, the NDM and Simon Gatwech in August 2022, Tonga and its surroundings have been under their control,” he noted.

“These forces executed the attack in Wic Panyikang that resulted in the deaths and injuries of many people in the peace convoy from the neighboring Ruweng, including the peace advisor for the administrative area, and took control of their vehicles,” he further alleged.

According to Achobek, the SPLM/A-IO and the NDM “pooled resources from the illegal checkpoints they operated along the Nile River by collecting taxes and levies levied against the Sudanese herders.”

“But still. Disagreement over how to divide the county’s resources has grown among all of these groups, especially within the SPLM/A-IO,” Achobek alleged.

The dispute was made evident, according to the Achobek, on Sunday night when a disgruntled group of the SPLMA-1O in the town attacked Tonga.

“The SPLM/ 2-10 Kit-Gwang thus wishes to disassociate itself from the most recent conflicts in Tonga,” he said.

He added, “The unfounded assertion that Brigadier General Turuk Ruot and Major General Manylong Doup Nyoun, who are in charge of one of the forces engaged in combat in Tonga, is vehemently denied by the SPLMA-IO Kit-Gwang.”

Before joining the SPLMA-IO, the two generals joined Simon Gatwech after defecting from the SPLM/A-IO Kit-gwang, said Achobek, adding that the two generals who attacked Tonga are “part of the SPLM/A-IO rank and file that is stationed in Tonga.”

Col. Lam Paul, the spokesperson for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in-Opposition (SPLA-IO), confirmed to The City Review on Monday that fighting was still going on in the Upper Nile state between the SPLA-IO Army and the Kitgwang (Agwelek forces).

But according to Col Lam, the entire conflict began at night when the Agwelek forces commander attacked the SPLA-IO forces stationed in Tonga. He argued the SSPDF shared the blame because Gen. Johnson Olony, who commands the Agwelek forces, had signed a pact with the government.

“We believe as the SPLA-IO that these are the joint forces between the SSPDF elements and the elements of Agwelek that came and attacked our base last night, and our forces managed to repel,” he claimed.

Lam alleged that there have been several violations of the ceasefire, which should attract the attention of the monitors.

The clash comes in the wake of high-profile defections that have rocked the SPLM/A-IO camp, with most of the military leaders alleging mistreatment from the party leadership.

Last week, the SPLM/A-IO sector three commanders in Mutot, Greater Lou Nuer, Maj. Gen. Michael Nyak, defected to the SSPDF on Friday, citing marginalisation by the leadership of the armed opposition movement.