Home Main Story Salva Kiir Welcomes Peace Deal With SPLM-IO Rival Faction

Salva Kiir Welcomes Peace Deal With SPLM-IO Rival Faction

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Salva Kiir

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir welcomed the peace deal that his adviser signed with the SPLA-IO breakaway leaders saying peace was paramount for stability and coexistence in the country.

Presidential Affairs Minister said on Monday that President Kiir had given all the authority to his security adviser to meet, discuss and reach a settlement that would end hostilities and fighting which had claimed lives and destroyed properties in Northern Upper Nile and border areas straddling neighbouring Sudan.

“His Excellency the President commends our delegation and the group of Gen Simon Gatwec and Gen Olony for reaching a deal that terminates a destructive conflict in Northern Upper Nile at the time when people should enjoy the dividends of peace,” said Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin.

“Peace is what his Excellency advocates because he is a man of peace. He wants peace to prevail at all costs. Peace is paramount and must supersede all other aspirations,” Benjamin further said when reached on Monday to comment on the peace deal struck in Khartoum

The government and the faction of the SPLM/A-IO under the former army chief of staff have signed a peace deal expected to seek ways to expedite the full implementation of the September 2018 peace accord.

The splinter group gather the two generals Simon Gatwech Dual and his deputy Johnson Olony who advocate the implementation of the security arrangement and settlement of the local disputes before moving to Juba to take up their assignments.

Dual is the former SPLA-IO Chief of General Staff, and Olony is the leader of Agwelek forces.

The two men signed separate agreements, one advocating integration into the South Sudanese army with a provision of a general amnesty. The other pushes for a settlement of the local land dispute in spite of being leaders of the same faction.

It was not clear why the two men signed separate agreements. No immediate explanations were given.

It was purported that Olony wanted to emphasize the rights of his Shulluk on a disputed land with Dinka in the Upper Nile.

The agreement maintains the 2018 permanent ceasefire agreement and an amnesty to the forces and leadership of the group as previously done on August 8, 2018.

The deal with the government and Gen Dual provides for the establishment of coordination offices in Bor and Malakal to enable the reintegration of the forces into the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces.

A separate deal with Olony agreed with the government to maintain the borders of Shilluk land as they stood on January 1, 1956.

It agreed to maintain a separate force until preparations and arrangements are completed to reintegrate them into the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces.

The Director of Internal Security Bureau Gen. Akol Koor Kuc signed for the government.

Presidential Adviser on National Security Affairs, Tut Gatluak who led the delegation pledged to honour the agreement and reiterated the commitment of his government to fully implement it including integrating their forces into the national army.

“We want to assure you that what we have signed today will be immediately implemented. We are ready for your forces to go to the training camps and for your delegates to go to the places where your forces are based,” said Gatluak in a speech at the signing ceremony in the Khartoum suburb of Suba on Sunday.

Gen Simon Gatwech Dual spoke on behalf of his faction and reiterated his commitment to adhere to the ceasefire and return to Juba after security arrangements are implemented.

“If the security arrangements are done there should be nothing and after the three months of the security arrangements then I will be in Juba,” said Gatwech who is currently residing in Khartoum.

Johnson Olony who formed the Agwelek Forces emphasized the need to fully implement the 2018 peace accord and to consider the grievances of all the parties.

Shams al-Din Kabbashi, a member of Sudan’s Sovereign Council represented the Sudanese government which is the guarantor of the 2018 peace pact.

Kabbashi affirmed the commitment of the Sudanese government to ensure the pact is executed as agreed by the factions.

He stressed the importance of stability and peace in the southern neighbour for Sudan.

“South Sudan matters to us in the North, and the stability of the South means the stability of the North,” said Kabbashi.  He further called for understanding and respect to the terms of the deal by the two parties.

The deal ends a five-month conflict that sparked in August 2021,  when senior army officers under Riek Machar announced they have removed him, causing a split.

The split has resulted in deadly fighting between forces loyal to two generals Gatwec and Gen Johnson Olony and those loyal Vice-President Riek Machar in the Magenis area of the Upper Nile State where the group had established a base.

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