S. Sudan opposition break-away group shifts allegiance to President Kiir

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir. PHOTO | AFP

What you need to know:

  • In the peace accord signed by the three generals and President Kiir's Special Envoy for Sudan Tut Gatluak, who also doubles as the National Security Affairs Advisor, the two parties claim they shall be bound to provisions of the 2018 revitalized peace deal.

A South Sudanese break-away military group of the main opposition party, the Sudan People Liberation Army – In Opposition (SPLA-IO), has shifted allegiance to President Salva Kiir in what seems to be a violation of the 2018 peace agreement.  

In a peace signing agreement event witnessed by a member of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereignty Council Shams Eldien in Khartoum on Sunday, three prominent SPLA-IO military generals – Simon Gatwech Dual, Johnson Olony and Thomas Mabor Dhoal – pledged allegiance to Kiir.

The generals are the founders and the heads of the recent SPLA-IO breakaway group known as Kitgwang Declaration, who have in the past described the Riek Machar, the SPLA-IO chairman and First Vice President, as a failed leader.   

In the peace accord signed by the three generals and President Kiir's Special Envoy for Sudan Tut Gatluak, who also doubles as the National Security Affairs Advisor, the two parties claim they shall be bound to provisions of the 2018 revitalized peace deal.

“The President Kiir Mayardit shall issue amnesty to the leadership and forces of SPLA-IO Kitgwang as previously done on August 8, 2021. The parties should commit themselves to the ceasefire agreement signed in Khartoum in 2018.

“The parties agreed that the implementation of this agreement shall be determined by the respective Joint Security Committee, which shall be formed three months after signing of the agreement,” the agreement states.

The two parties agreed to the establishment of three coordination offices in Bor, Malakal and Juba to assist in the integration of forces, adding that President Kiir shall provide logistics to their forces.

In August 2021, the Kitgwang group announced Dr Machar’s ouster – claiming he no longer represented the interests of the group.

There have been reports of deadly fighting between their forces and those loyal to Dr Machar in the Magenis area in Upper Nile State, where the group is based.

In November 2020, the Intergovernmental Authority of Development Special Envoy for South Sudan, Ambassador Ismail Wais, said he was disappointed over reports of fighting between a splinter group and the SPLA-IO in Yei River area, Central Equatoria State.

The 2018 revitalized peace agreement mandates the Joint Defense Board to exercise command and control over all forces during the Pre-Transitional Period.

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