Riek, Gatwech and Olony camps’ tongue waging amid fresh clashes

Gen. Simon Gatwech of Kitgwang and Gen. John Olony of Agwelek

By Tereza Jeremiah Chuei

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) under Riek Machar has accused Agwelek forces of General Johnson Olony of attacking their forces in Diel of Upper Nile State, while the Agwelek blame Gen. Gatwech forces of fighting them.

The Agwelek camp has also released a press statement stating that their boats were traveling From Atar of Jonglei State to Tonga of Upper Nile State where their forces fell under an attack in an area called Diel by the element belonging to Gen. Simon Gatwich.

However, Alfred Gach Thot, the spokesperson Simon Gatwech, who is the leader of Kitgwang, refuted the allegations saying they don’t have any force in Diel, citing that those forces in Diel belong to SPLA-IO under Dr. Riek Machar.

“We don’t have any forces in Diel, and the attack that happen is between SPLA-IO and elements of Johson Olony, we are not part of it,” Gach told No.1 Citizens Daily Newspaper.

Meanwhile, Paul Achot Achobek, the head of Agwelek delegation in Juba stated in their statement that, “our forces responded in self defence and drove the attackers out of our positions, however yesterday the attack on our base revealed the fact that it was a well-coordinated attack that is closely linked to the repeated attack on our position in Wic- Panyikang and its surrounding”.

 “Last evening on 18th August, 2022 at around 6:15pm, our force travelling from Atar to Tonga came under heavy gunfire in the town of Diel, of Upper Nile State by Element belonging to Gen. Simon Gatwich and his new anti-peace allies,” read part of the press released.

Achot stated that Gen. Simon Gatwech has reneged on the Khartoum peace Agreement that he had signed with the SPLM-IG, saying he is now championing a regime change

On his part, the Spokesperson of the SPLA-IO, Col. Lam Pual Gabriel said that “the Kitwang element under the Command of Gen. Johnson Olony Agwelek forces attacked our {SPLA-IO} position in Diel and they are being facilitated by our peace partners IG security unit to move to Malakal before they later retreat their movement three days ago to Atar”.

Lam added that they were able to communicate to the SSPDF, to respect and further the communication with Olony forces to respect the agreement, since the forces are under SSPDF.

“We were never expecting any conflict with any forces unless someone outside of the agreement but even Kitwang, they are within the agreement since they are already part of the SSPDF they should have respected the directive given by the Presidency and also they need to respect the will of the people of South Sudan, because at the moment South Sudanese want peace,” Col. Lam stated.

The SPLA-IO military spokesperson also argued that there is no need of breaking the peace and taking the country back to war stating that the country is majorly at peace.

He however noted that there were no casualties from the Thursday’s confrontations.

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