Blame games rock armed factions over Atar occupation

Gen. Johnson Olony, commander of the Agwelek forces/Courtesy photo

By Tereza Jeremiah Chuei 

Authorities in Jonglei state said Agwelek forces under the command of Gen. Johnson Olony have occupied the Atar area following series of clashes with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) in Atar area of Pigi County in Jonglei state, according to the State Information Minister.

The alleged occupation of the area came after a recent condemnation from the Atar Community alleging that their area had been attacked by the Agwelek forces letting to the displacement of the civilians.

However, this was later disputed by the Head of Agwelek delegation in Juba, Paul Achut, asserting that it wasn’t true saying the Agwelek forces haven’t reached those far ends of Atar.

Meanwhile, the SPLA-IO spokesperson Col. Lam Paul Gabriel refuted the claim of IO under Dr. Riek Machar being part of the clashes, citing that SPLM/A-IO has distanced itself from the clashes.

Col. Lam added that it wasn’t a political clash but rather intercommunal conflict between the Shulluk tribe and other two tribes.

He accused Gen. Johnson Olony commander of the Agwelek forces of weighing war against the Dinka in Atar and the Nuer around Fangak in the present IO cantonment site.

Col. Lam advised the South Sudanese to understand that not every Nuer individual is an IO, adding that just like it’s not every Dinka is in support of SPLM-IG, “As well as not every Shilluk support what Johnson Olony is doing, and if we are able to know this … then we can bring peace and stability in the Upper Nile Region.”

“We SPLA-IO, we distant ourselves from that clashes, but we know that they (Agwelek forces) are shelling in our headquarters around Diel and Atar, so this has nothing to do with IO,” he declared.

Meanwhile Jonglei State Minister of Information, John Samuel Manyuon  told No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper via phone from Bor that the civilians of Fangak and Atar are currently displaced by the continues clashes between the SPLA-IO and Kitgwang of Agwelek, under Johnson Olong.

“The citizens of Atar and Fangak are currently displaced and the forces of Gen. Olony are within Atar land on the side of the Nile,” he stated.

However, several attempts to reach Paul Achobek, the head of Agwelek delegation in Juba, for reaction on the allegation went futile by press time.

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