South Sudan: Opposition NDM Distances Self from Wrangles in SPLM/A-IO Splinter Faction

The leadership of the National Democratic Movement (NDM) has disassociated itself from the infighting within the splinter faction of South Sudan’s armed opposition movement (SPLM/A-IO).

Veteran South Sudanese opposition politician Lam Akol Ajawin heads NDM.

“Today [Saturday, 20th of August], Gen Johnson Olony Thubo gave a statement over Eye Radio in which he claimed that “forces of Lam Akol and forces of Gen Simon Gatwec Dual are together fighting his forces” in Panyikang County. For the last months especially in the last one week or so, we have been treated to rumours, innuendos and insinuations by Olony’s supporters that the NDM has been fighting against Agwelek forces,” partly reads NDM’s statement.

It added, “Now that we heard it from his own mouth, it is clear where the source of the disinformation is and we shall respond accordingly to lay the facts bare”.

According to the NDM, Agwelek forces under Olony have been part and parcel of the SPLM/A-IO forces under Riek Machar’s command since 2015.

“He [Olony] broke away from Dr Riek Machar when the latter could not appoint him Governor of Upper Nile State in the Transitional Government under his own terms. He found common cause with Gen Simon Gatwec Dual who was also unhappy with his boss and the two broke away forming the Kit-Gwang faction of the SPLM/A-IO in August 2021,” the NDM noted.

The opposition, however, said it has been fully committed to the 2018 peace and the cessation of hostilities agreement signed in December 2017.

“No single complaint against NDM forces is in the records of the implementation mechanisms, especially CTSAMVM, the body in charge of monitoring and verification of any ceasefire violation,” notes the statement.

The group also wondered why it would fight against the Agwelek forces.

“Agwelek has never ever been part of NDM. They have accepted to join the SPLM-IG [ruling party in government] and SSPDF [South Sudan army] that are our partners in the revitalized agreement. There is no political demand we want from Agwelek or that they can offer to us,” stressed NDM.

The group urged the Agwelek forces commander to present any evidence against it to the CTSAMVM and Joint Defense Board (JDB) to investigate.

“Our people will not be taken for a ride; they know our track record,” it noted.

Chol Mawel