Kiir granted amnesty to Kit-Gwang and Agwelek forces, Machar conceded and welcomed the development.
Dr. Riek Machar Teny, the SPLM-IO party’s First Vice President and leader, has acknowledged and welcomed the unexpected merging of forces by his partner-in-peace, the SPLM-IG, and the SPLM-IO dissident Kitgwang group commanded by General Simon Gatwech Dual, who signed a peace pact in Khartoum on Sunday.
The accord grants amnesty to members of the Kitgwang faction, which split from the Machar-led Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) in August. Following their separation, the two groups engaged in fatal fighting in Magenis/Kitgwang, Upper Nile State.
The agreement, also signed by Kitgwang interim leader Gen. Simon Gatwech Daul and his deputy Gen. Johnson Olony Thubo on behalf of the group and General Akol Koor Kuc and Presidential Security Advisor Tut Gatluak Manime on behalf of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Government (SPLM-IG), also calls for the group’s forces to respect the ceasefire and be integrated into the South Sudan People’s Defense Force (SSPDF).
It also allocates political roles to General Olony’s Agwelek soldiers, subject to further discussion.
According to a Juba Monitor report seen by NCMP, the SPLM-Press IO’s Secretary in the Office of the First Vice President and Director of Information and Public Relations Committee Puok Both Baluang said they welcomed the peace agreement reached between Kitgwang and the SPLM-IG as long as it stopped the fighting and insecurity in the country.
He accused the SPLM-IG of arranging the defection of the Kitgwang faction from the SPLM-IO, and he said that the agreement will only increase uncertainty and conflict among the parties.
Mr. Baluang noted that because Kit-gwang has now joined the SPLM-IG camp, he has asked them to recommit to peace, adding that any assault by the organization on SPLM-IO soldiers is a red line and a grave breach of the renewed peace deal.
“We applaud this deal as long as it ends the war in that region and also proves that we, the SPLM-IO, were correct when we indicated that this group’s defection was arranged by the SPLM-IG and security organs in Juba,” Baluang added.
“From now on, they [Kit-gwang groups] have discovered the integration into SSPDF and have joined the SPLM-IG, thus any assault on our troops would be a breach of the cessation of hostilities and the R-ARCSS agreement in general since they are now part and parcel of SPLM-IG,” he said.
He also said that the Kit-gwang splinter’s defection will have no effect on the Revitalized Peace Agreement for the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan.
“This defection has no substantial influence on the agreement since they [Kit gwang] are now members of SPLM-IG, and as SPLM-IO, we continue our commitment to execute the peace accord and also encourage the parties to accelerate and implement the remaining chapters of the agreement,” he said.
The Kitgwang Declaration was a coup attempt on August 4, 2021 by South Sudanese rebel commander Simon Gatwech Dual, in which he replaced First Vice President Riek Machar as head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition, resulting in fatal rebel infighting.
Later, Gen. Johnson Olony and other key SPLM-IO politicians joined the faction.