Olony: I’m ‘not interested’ in Rome Peace Talks

Olony: I’m ‘not interested’ in Rome Peace Talks
Gen Johnson Olony addressing the media. [Photo: courtesy]

The government-allied armed group Agwelek says it will not seek a fresh agreement with Juba through the Sant’Egidio-mediated Rome Peace Talks.

Wanj Bum Makhor, a lawmaker in the Jonglei State Legislative Assembly, had suggested the inclusion of the Agwelek forces led by Gen Johnson Olony with the rival Kitgwang faction led by Gen Simon Gatwech to restore peace in the Upper Nile region, where both armed groups have been accused of causing violence.

In January 2022, both armed groups signed a peace deal with the government, but the pact has largely remained unimplemented since then. The armed groups, which were once allies now turned foes, have been locked up in a series of clashes that have paralysed parts of Upper Nile and northern Jonglei states.

“There is no need to negotiate another agreement, we already have one. We are on track and implementing the agreement,” said Paul Achot, a senior member of the Agwelek Forces who led the group’s advance team to Juba last year.

Achot insisted that the Khartoum peace agreement was holding, although he blamed the delays in completing some of the key tasks on the eruption of violence in Fashoda and Panyikang counties last year.

He said his group and government forces have since deployed joint police forces in Magenis, a hotspot area along the border with Sudan that has witnessed some of the fiercest clashes since 2021.

“You will see that our forces are working side by side with the SSPDF and fighting armed elements together,” Achot said.

Ready for Juba

In addition, Achot said Gen Olony is ready to move to Juba once the government has given the signal to allow him to do so based on the agreement signed with the Juba administration.

“Gen Johnson Olony was ready to come to Juba from day one when we signed the agreement. The last time I met President Salva Kiir Mayardit; he was asking when the general would be coming to Juba, and I told him the general had been ready to come to all Juba].

“He is waiting for the security organs to give the OK so he can come to Juba,” Achot said in an exclusive interview with the City Review yesterday.

Gen Olony and Gen Simon Gatwech broke away from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army /Army went into opposition in August 2021 following fighting between their forces.

The two later split and engaged in combat in 2022, fighting in parts of the Upper and Lower Jonglei states, displacing thousands of civilians in the region.