Gatwech threatens to dump peace deal over Kiir’s lack of political will

JUBA – South Sudan opposition commander and leader of the breakaway SPLA-IO Kitgwang faction, Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, has threatened to withdraw from the Khartoum peace agreement he signed with President Salva Kiir Mayardit over lack of will to implement the peace deal.

Gatwech in August last year announced an attempt to remove First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny as the chairman and commander in chief of South Sudan’s main armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A-IO).

The announcement sparked opposition infighting and Gatwech along with other top SPLA-IO commanders formed a faction of their own and signed a peace deal with President Salva Kiir’s ruling faction in January 2022 in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

The agreement provides for the integration of Gen. Gatwech’s forces into South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) within a period not more than three months, but it has been around eight months since the agreement was signed without any step taken as a sign of the agreement’s implementation.

In June, Gatwech accused President Kiir’s close allies of working against him and the SPLM-IO Kitgwang, saying they are working to set him against his deputy, Gen. Johnson Olony Thubo, in order to paralyze the implementation process of the January 2022 agreement.

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