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Gatwech, Olony may never join the unified forces, gov’t warns

JUBA – South Sudan government has warned that opposition commanders, General Simon Gatwech Dual and General Johnson Olony Thabo, may not ever be allowed to join the government after the formation of the professional national army unless they join now.


Speaking during the graduation ceremony of the Necessary Unified Forces (NUF) in Malakal over the weekend, defense minister Angelina Teny pointed to the amnesty granted by President Salva Kiir and urged the two general to join on that basis and also cited the Kitgwang faction’s agreement with Kiir.

“We heard the president during the first graduation ceremony in Juba offering amnesty to the holdout groups, and we are in discussions with them, and the president directed them to join the processes of peace,” Teny said.

“Kit-Gwang also has an agreement with the government…why should they conduct shelling?” the senior government official asked over the continued displacement of civilians as a result of the fighting between General Gatwech and the forces of General Olony in Upper Nile state.

She called on the two opposition commanders to join the implementation process of the revitalized peace agreement and warned that once the graduation and deployment of the unified forces is completed, none of the opposition groups will be allowed in.

“We still call on them to do so, but we do not understand the purpose of Olony and Kit-Gwang…they have an agreement, and we call on them to respect the agreement and come to Juba so that the agreement can be implemented so that we embark on the development and phase two [of graduation processes] in peace,” she said.

“If there is an agreement [between the government and Kit-Gwang], it should be respected, and they should join and be organised in the second phase. We do not want anybody outside again,” the senior government official warned.

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