JUBA, MAY 19, 2023 (SUDANS POST) – The leader of South Sudan’s holdout main armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) Kitgwang faction General Simon Gatwech Dual has accused President Salva Kiir of using General Johnson Olony as a proxy to fight him last year.
Fighting in Upper Nile state between rival factions of the SPLM-IO Kitgwang killed hundreds of people and displaced tens of thousands from their homes in 2022. Gatwech had accused Kiir of using Olony to fight him in violating of a January 2022 peace agreement they had signed in Khartoum.
Olony who also signed a deal with the government in January last year arrived back in Juba on Sunday and declared that he was going to work with the government of South Sudan to end the conflict in northern Upper Nile state.
In a statement reacting to General Olony’s return to Juba on Thursday, Gatwech said that the government had supported the notorious Agwelek leader in attacks against his group and civilians in Upper Nile and Jonglei states.
“The government in Juba had used a proxy war by supporting Agwelek leader Gen. Johnson Olony Thabo against the SPLM/A-IO KD and innocently targeted civilians of Greater Fangak counties,” he said in the statement extended to Sudans Post.
The opposition commander who is also under international sanctions for obstruction of peace also accused Kiir and his first deputy Riek Machar of being “the same coin” and of failing the people of South Sudan.
“President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar are the same coin, they both failed the people of South Sudan, and they will be held responsible for any crimes which were committed during the war and also for delaying a durable peace,” he said.
Fighting between Olony and Gatwech’s forces had escalated last year, with both sides accusing the other of starting it. Clashes took place in Magenis, northern Upper Nile, and the Shilluk Kingdom and spread to northern counties of Jonglei state such as Fangak and Pieri.
The violence has displaced thousands of people and has raised concerns about the future of the peace process in South Sudan.
The peace agreement that was signed in September 2018 was supposed to end the civil war that has been raging in South Sudan since 2013. However, the agreement has been plagued by delays and implementation challenges.
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