JUBA – Deadly fighting between forces loyal to General Simon Gatwech Dual and his deputy who attempted to remove him last week, Gen. Johnson Olony Thabo, has left at least 18 soldiers dead, with Olony’s group accusing Gatwech’s forces of initiating attacks to “destabilize Panyikang.”
In a statement, Agwelek faction led by Gen. Olony said Gatwech’s soldiers who have remaining in Magenis and parts of Panyikang have been attacking their forces in an attempt to reclaim areas where they were displaced.
The statement said Gen. Gatwech’s forces who had been scattered following a three-day fighting tried to regroup, but were attacked resulting in the killing of at least 18 soldiers belonging to Gatwech and 1 soldier on the site of Agwelek.
“Fellow citizens, you have been following the news about the attacks which were carried out by the remnants of the mercenaries with unthinkable ambitions of Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, whom we considered as colleagues in the KITGWANG DECLARATION (KD),” the Agwelek statement said.
“This group had tried to create destabilization in Panyikang area for the past three days by attacking our forces, the Agwelek. But our gallant forces managed to scatter them, in their first attempt,” the statement added.
It said that Gen. Gatwech’s forces yesterday “tried to gather at the Jung Koryom Island, near Panyikang, trying to re-organize themselves once more in preparation for another military confrontation.”
“However we thank our intelligence service that had enabled the Agwelek forces to make a secure attack on the Island, whereas 18 mercenaries of Gen. Gatwech got killed, with one guy from Agwelek being killed,” the statement added.
When contacted by Sudans Post, SPLA-IO Kitgwang military spokesman Col. Alfred Gach Thot did not respond.