JUBA, MAY 23, 2023 (THEJUBAMIRROR. NEWS. ) – South Sudan’s main armed opposition SPLM-IO Kitgwang faction led by General Simon Gatwech Dual has denied rumors that it plans to rejoin the mainstream under First Vice President Riek Machar.
SPLM-IO Kitgwang spokesman Brig. Gen. Alfred Gach Thot told Sudans Post in an interview on Tuesday afternoon that the faction is committed to its goal of regime change and that Machar is a part of President Salva Kiir’s regime.
“These are false information from enemies of SPLM-IO Kitgwang. We are not planning in any way to rejoin Riek Machar who is in Juba,” Gach said.
“We are for regime change and Riek Machar is a part of the regime of Salva Kiir, and they must go together,” he added.
The senior opposition officer’s comments come amid speculations that the holdout SPLM-IO Kitgwang faction is planning to hold a meeting in the coming days to discuss its future plans including a possible return to the SPLM-IO under Machar.
Gatwech who was the SPLA-IO military chief broke away to form the SPLM-IO Kitgwang faction in June 2021 after accusing Machar of betraying the group by signing a “fake” peace agreement with President Kiir who he was is not willing to bring peace.
That year, deadly clashes between the defecting faction and the mainstream resulted in the killing of senior members of the SPLA-IO, the largest armed opposition group founded by Machar following outbreak of war in Juba in December 2013.