South Sudan President Salva Kiir has directed immediate integration of the armed opposition (SPLM/A-IO) splinter faction forces led by former chief of staff, Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual.
The presidential adviser on security affairs, Tut Gatluak Manime said the South Sudanese leader directed the government and all organized forces to prepare and enlighten their units to accept integration of forces loyal to Gatwech and his deputy, Johnson Olony.
He said that an advance team of the breakaway faction of the armed opposition movement was in the capital, Juba to start preparations prior to Dual and Olony’s arrival.
“The visit of the advance team under the leadership of Gen Simon Gatwech and Gen Johnson Olony is part of what was agreed in Khartoum. It was agreed that an advance would come to Juba for preparation and as part of the confidence building stipulated in the agreement”, explained Manime.
He added, “The agreement opens a new chapter of peace, reconciliation, and the need to accept we are South Sudanese and as people of the same father and mother and as people who belongs here. There is no another country. South Sudan is only country we have and if there are issues, we need to sit down like we did it in Khartoum”. The aide also clarified that the negotiations between government and the SPLM/A-IO splinter group did not involve external mediators.
“Nobody had come to mediate for us. We did it ourselves and this should continue to guide how we do our things because we are capable of resolving our differences amicably”, he stressed.
On Thursday, an advance team of the SPLM/A-IO (Kit-Gwang faction) led by General Paul Achut Nyibek arrived in the South Sudan capital.
Speaking to reporters on arrival at Juba airport, Nyibek said the young nation had witnessed enough wars and peace be given a chance.
“We want peace to prevail in this country, this is our main purpose, this is what we need,” he said, adding that, “This country cannot take any more war, we have to agree that enough is enough, we have killed ourselves enough. So, when peace comes nobody can stop it.”
Nyibek lauded the Juba government led by Kiir for embracing peace.
“I am here today, Johnson Olony will be here tomorrow, and Simon Gatwech will be here the next day. All who belong to this (Kit-Gwang) group will be here as soon as possible. We have to put our hands together so that we take this country where we want it,” he stressed.
Jokino Fidel, a member of the government delegation that signed the deal between South Sudan government and Agwelek forces, said the government agreed with the Kit-Gwang group on several issues, citing return of Shilluk land according to the colonial boundaries of 1956.
“We signed an agreement with them, and that agreement is not far from the 2018 revitalized peace agreement. We agreed with them on so many things including the 2018 ceasefire. We are going to canton the (breakaway) SPLA-IO forces in Kit-Gwang and after their cantonment; they will be integrated into SSPDF,” explained Fidel.
He added, “The Agwelek, in particular, were fighting for the land and we agreed with them as was agreed in the 2018 revitalized peace agreement that internal boundaries of South Sudanese tribes will be based on the 1 January 1956 boundaries”.
For his part, John Opec Akokjak, an elder representing the Agwelek Division, said years of conflict with the government had not benefited the Chollo community and that peace was a solution to the crisis.
“We as the elders of Shilluk are not benefiting anything from the war and our leader, Johnson Olony, has been for peace from the beginning,” he said, adding “His [Olony] struggle was not organized because of marginalization of a section of a tribe, but he was fighting for genuine peace. We were waiting for a genuine peace, which we have now come for.”