Top Leaders of the SPLA-IO Splinter Faction to Return to Juba.
According to an official, leaders of South Sudan’s armed opposition movement (SPLM/A-IO) would only return to Juba if President Salva Kiir provides a nationwide amnesty in accordance with the Khartoum peace deal.
On January 16, the SPLM/A Kit-Gwang group, commanded by Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, signed a peace accord with Kiir’s administration.
Among other things, the Khartoum peace agreement ensures the execution of security measures, a lasting truce, amnesty for the Kit Gwang group, containment, and reintegration of the dissident SPLA-IO troops into the South Sudanese Peoples Defense Forces (SSPDF).
A team from the Agwelek troops division led by General Johnson Olony came in South Sudan’s capital last week to meet with President Kiir to further discuss the newly inked peace accord.
The leader of the advance team representing Johnson Olony, Paul Achut Nyibek, told Sudan Tribune on Thursday that preparations were underway to make the required measures to accommodate Gen. Olony’s arrival.
“Things have been progressing thus far. There are continuing discussions with the president’s office to make the required preparations. When these plans are finalized, the president will proclaim a general amnesty in accordance with the agreement, [then] General Johnson and other leaders will arrive,” he stated.
“Therefore, there is no concern from our end.” General Johnson Olony is available to go to Juba at any moment. Especially after the broad amnesty granted to all Kit-Gwang soldiers. We are now here to pave the path for his homecoming and the return of General Simon Gatwech Dual. If we follow through on what was agreed upon in the deal, General Olony and the rest of the leadership will be in Juba shortly,” he continued.
Separately, a source in the presidential adviser’s office on security issues informed Sudan Tribune that President Kiiir had requested that the two leaders come to Juba even before the process began, but the generals expressed a wish to remain away until a general amnesty is declared.
“They [Dual and Olony] are using the topic of universal amnesty to justify their continued absence.” They should be aware, however, that His Excellency President Salva Kiir is dedicated to resolving the situation and wishes to maintain in touch with Generals Simon Gatwec and Johnson Olony. He has assured them of their safety and pledged to collaborate with them. This is why he sent all of the security officials to go and talk with them,” a presidential aide told Sudan Tribune on Thursday.
According to the aide, the president’s administration has asked presidential advisor on security matters Tut Gatluak Manime to make the required preparations and guarantee that all contending factions in Upper Nile State are included.
“The president is a sensible man.” He wants to resolve the Upper Nile conflict comprehensively. He wants the presidential adviser to ensure that all parties to the conflict in Upper Nile, particularly the Dinka and the Shilluk, are brought together in a peace conference to discuss and find ways to resolve their disputes so that the communities can return to their normal way of living together peacefully,” the source added.
“These are arrangements that must first be put in place,” he continued.
Sudan Tribune has also heard that Kiir asked his advisor to guarantee that all unlawfully inhabited residences in Malakal and other towns be removed and the legitimate owners are allowed to return to their homes. Another concern is that the Agwelek soldiers must be cantoned before being reintegrated into the national army.