Mabior Garang De Mabior (Chairperson) National Committee For Information And Public Relations has clarified on the defection of Gen. Johnson Olony from the Allied Forces of the Salva Kiir Administration.
“The SPLM/SPLA would like to alert members of the public that the allegations made by the Salva Kiir Administration that Gen. Olony has joined the SPLM/SPLA and are together collaborating with Khartoum are baseless and tantamount to negative propaganda,” Mabior said in a statement.
Col Philip Aguer was quoted saying opposition was being helped by Sudan to launch attacks.
Mabior said the SPLM/SPLA does not have a monopoly on opposing the Salva Kiir Administration and it is the fundamental right of every citizen to oppose any Administration they deem to be ruining their government.
“The fact that Gen. Olony is currently opposed to the Salva Kiir Administration means that his interests and those of the SPLM/SPLA currently coincide.”
“The SPLM/SPLA; however, does have a policy of coordinating and working with all revolutionary forces in the country that are in opposition to the Salva Kiir Administration.”
The movement urged the Salva Kiir Administration to recognize that the military victory they seek is futile, the best option for the Administration is to return to negotiations in good faith.
Machar not in command of Olony
The movement says it doesn’t command the loyalty of Shilluk commander General Johnson Olony, saying now instead that Olony’s interests simply ‘coincide’ with those of the SPLM-IO.
Olony, a commander formerly allied to the government army (SPLA-Juba), clashed with SPLA-Juba since Friday evening but he did not declare that he joined Machar’s movement.
Machar’s spokesman James Gatdet stated on Saturday, “Our forces under the overall command of General Johnson Olony recaptured Upper Nile state’s capital, Malakal, on Saturday from pro-Salva Kiir’s forces. We are now in full control of the town and its surroundings.”
A statement issued yesterday purportedly on his behalf by a spokesman for his ‘Agwelek Forces’, Nyagwal Ajak Deng, says that Olony has not joined Riek Machar’s movement and instead will operate independently.
“Agwelek forces under command of Gen J. Olony and other senior officers will operate as independent forces in Upper Nile State but we will be ready to work together with other opposition forces fighting tribal government of Salva Kiir for change for better South Sudan free of tribal hatred [and] ethnic cleansing,” reads the statement.
It further alleges that government forces and allied ethnic militias were responsible for instigating the latest violence.
The statement says that General Olony was prepared to come to Juba to answer a summons given by General Salva Kiir, but that the government forces attacked him before he could answer the summons.
Fighting rages in Fashoda
Fighting broke out among a Shilluk militia commanded by SPLA-Major General Ayok Ogat at Dithuok area, north of Fashoda County in Upper Nile State on Saturday afternoon.
Ex-militia commander Ayok Ogat, who joined the SPLA army, has recently been in the capital Juba while his forces remained in Wadakona under his deputy Yohanis Okiech.
A source told Radio Tamazuj that clashes erupted when a group within the militia under command of the deputy Okeich opted to support the government against SPLA-Major General Johnson Olony, who reportedly defected to the SPLA-IO rebels and took control of Malakal town.
At least three soldiers were killed and several others wounded during weekend’s clashes, according to the same source.
He further pointed out the deputy commander of Ayok Ogat deserted Dithuok and that he vowed to overrun Malakal from Olony’s forces.
Meanwhile, a military source alleged that Okiech decided to support the government after he was promised that a military governor who hails from the Shuilluk tribe will be appointed in Upper Nile if he fights alongside the government in Malakal town.
For his part, Fashoda County Commissioner Morris Adiang confirmed the fighting within the Shilluk militia in the area.
Meanwhile, SPLA causalities in the Upper Nile State fighting were evacuated by air to Juba for medical treatment.