JUBA – The breakaway Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) Kitgwang faction led by General Simon Gatwech Dual has blamed the government of President Salva Kiir Mayardit in Juba over the delayed return of its advance team to Sudan for consultations.
Gatwech signed a peace agreement with the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party in January this year. The agreement provides for the integration of his forces into South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) within a period not exceeding three months.
But five months on, the agreement has not yet been implemented despite Gen. Gatwech’s show of commitment in which he sent a high-level delegation comprising senior political leaders and military commanders to the South Sudan’s capital Juba where the agreement’s implementation could be coordinated.
In March, Gatwech issued an order recalling his advance team back to Sudan for consultation over the delays. Some members of the advance had reportedly refused to return to Sudan claiming that “we have an unfinished mission that need to be accomplished before we return to where we came from.”
Speaking to Sudans Post on Wednesday, Chuol Deng Thon, the Chairperson of Information and Mobilization Committee and spokesman of the SPLM-IO Kitgwang faction, blamed the delay over the return of the advance team to Sudan on President Salva Kiir’s government and said General Gatwech wrote to him and his Sudanese counterparts but has not heard back.
“As you may be aware, the advance team went and is living in Juba with the responsibility of the government of the Republic of South Sudan. So, they cannot also return to the airport heading to Sudan without the permission of the government of South Sudan as well,” he said.
“The Chairman and Commander in Chief H.E Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual has also wrote to President Salva Kiir, the President of South Sudan, and General Abdelfattah Al Burhan, the President of Sudan, to ask for the facilitation of the return of the advance team for consultation,” he added.
The senior opposition official further accused the government of intentionally delaying the implementation process of the agreement, but also acknowledged that the signing of the agreement from the side of the government is also a sign that it does not want the return to war.
“I call this a tactical delay in the implementation of the agreement and we also know that the government signed the agreement because it was not willing to return the country to war. But now, they stand in the middle of the road: they don’t want the return to conflict and they don’t want to implement the agreement as signed,” Deng further said.