Hostile wrangles continue to deface rebel camps

By William Madouk Garang  

Wrangle between Gen. Simon Gatwech and Gen. Johnson Olony has reached peak with Kitgwang Declaration accusing the head of Agwelek faction of standing behind the current violence against civilians in Upper Nile State.

In a statement seen by No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, the spokesman of Gatwech Brig. Gen. Alfred Gach Thot said the root cause of the communal conflict in Upper Nile was triggered by Agwelek faction allied to Olony.

“The root cause of communal conflict started in Panyikang County when the Agwelek forces under Gen. Johnson Olony Thabo randomly targeted the innocent civilians of greater Fangak in Wej Panyikang and it’s now widely spread out to other areas,” Thot said.

Mr. Thot also accused the Agwelek forces of shooting civilians in Diel and Atar areas since last Monday in a bid to attack Kitgwang camp, stating that they will respond if their position is attacked. 

“The office of the spokesperson of SPLA-IO KD is to inform the public that the notorious Agwelek forces under Gen. Johnson Olony Thabo have started shelling the civilian-populated areas in Diel and Atar Ashuat yesterday [Monday] morning until the evening hours and their master plan is to attack our base in Tunja,” he noted.

“The SPLA-IO KD condemns that barbaric act of provocation in the strongest terms possible and calls for Agwelek forces to refrain from being warmongers and if they continue with that aggressive behavior, the SPLA-IO KD has all rights for self-defense,” he continued.

Brig. Thot further distanced Kitgwang Declaration from Fashoda clashes and ongoing violence in many parts of Panyikang County where the White Army are attacking civilians and looting properties.

“The SPLA-IO KD is also distancing itself from the communal clashes in Fashoda County, Upper Nile State on the 8 – 9 /Oct/ 2022 and our forces were ordered by the Chairman and Commander in Chief of SPLM/A- IO KD to remain only at their bases,” the statement said.

However, on Monday the head of Agwelek delegation in Juba, accused Simon Gatwech of secretly pushing for regime change through continued hostilities in Upper Nile State.

“We have been saying all along that Gen. Gatwech and company have reneged on the Khartoum peace agreement they signed: he is pursuing a regime change,” Achobek noted. 

Renewed clashes

Early this month, state authorities confirmed to No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper that renewed clashes in Fashoda County of Upper Nile State had resulted into killing of at least ten people mainly elderly while thousands of civilians fled their homes.

Fashoda Commissioner Joseph Aban alleged that the attackers are militias loyal to leader of the Kitgwang faction, General Simon Gatwech.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ latest report said, roughly 8,000 civilians have been displaced in Fashoda County due to continued fighting among armed groups in the area.

In a statement, the UN agency accused armed youth locally known as the white Army of attacking and burning villages including Kodok and other locations.

In rebuttal, the spokesperson of Simon Gatwech, Brig-Gen. Thot distanced themselves from the attack, citing that their base is only in Tunja which is about 100 km away from Fashoda.

He cited that Agwelek forces under Johnson Olony are the only ones in control of Fashoda area because it’s the Collo land.

Yet, the head of Agwelek advance team, Paul Achobek said they didn’t have forces in Fashoda, asserting if there was a fight then it could be Gatwech forces. 

Kitgwang Declaration and Agwelek faction allied to Olony signed the Khartoum peace agreement on January 16, 2022, with the SPLM in government for their integration into the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF).

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