Rival factions of the SPLA-In Opposition have agreed to a ceasefire following weekend deadly fighting that led to the death of at least 34 soldiers.
According to the First Vice President, General Johnson Olony who is a member of the breakaway faction led by General Simon Gatwech Dual spoke with Dr. Machar where they commit to a unilateral ceasefire.
This is after SPLA-IO allied to the Gatwech said they had removed Dr. Machar as the commander-in-chief of the main opposition group.
The Kit-Gwang declaration issued at Magenis last week nominated Gen. Gatwech as the interim leader of the SPLM/A-IO and new First Vice President.
The two factions clashed over the weekend in Meganis, with at least 34 soldiers reportedly killed on both sides.
But in a press release, last evening, the SPLM-IO’s Director of Information and Public Relations and Acting Press Secretary in the Office of the First Vice President said the breakaway group of Gen. Simon Gatwech had agreed to cease hostilities.
Puok Both Baluang stated that yesterday, Dr. Machar had a telephone conversation with Lt. Gen Johnson Olony.
He says Dr. Riek Machar emphasized the need to resolve peacefully the incident that took place in Magenis in Upper Nile State.
Dr. Machar and Gen. Johnson Olony also agreed to immediately send the Commissioner of Panyikang County to the county headquarter to assume his duties.
This, according to the SPLM-IO, will assure the population of peace in the area.
On Tuesday, security chiefs from the SPLA-IO, and SSPDF condemned the Meganis fighting and called for investigations into the root cause of the matter.
President Salva Kiir also directed Dr. Machar and Hussein Abdelbagi Akol of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance—SSOA to name their respective nominees to be appointed into the unified command of the army, as required by the revitalized peace agreement.
The regional trade and security bloc—IGAD called for a peaceful resolution of the problem within the main opposition party to the unity government in South Sudan.
On Wednesday, the Executive Secretary of IGAD, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu jetted in Juba following this week’s Extra-ordinary Council of Ministers on South Sudan.
Accompanied by IGAD Special Envoy Dr. Ismail Wais, Dr. Gebeyehu will meet parties and stakeholders to the revitalized peace agreement about the situation in the SPLM/A-IO camp.
Troika welcomes unified command
The Troika has welcomed the revitalized government’s renewed commitments to unifying the command structures of the military.
Troika countries are composed of the United States, United Kingdom, and Norway.
This week, President Salva Kiir has directed two of his deputies, Dr. Riek Machar and Hussein Abdelbagi to present the list of their nominees for the unification of security command as stipulated in the revitalized peace agreement.
The Troika also welcomes the IGAD continued efforts to support peace in South Sudan and this week’s Extraordinary Council of Ministers meeting.
“We commend and echo the Council of Ministers’ renewed call for all parties to abide by the peace agreement, and for the signatories to show a greater sense of unity for the sake of all South Sudanese within the framework of the revitalized peace agreement and the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity,” Troika statement stated.
It said Troika supports the efforts of the IGAD chair in developing a roadmap to resolve current disagreements and overcome obstacles in the implementation of Chapter 2.
“We recognize there has been some recent progress implementing elements of the revitalized peace agreement, recent events in Juba and elsewhere in the country show that slow, partial, and sometimes unconvincing implementation, has generated discontent among several constituencies and civil society.”
The statement also added that where there are legitimate grievances around direction and pace of implementation, it is important for those voices to be heard and for freedom of expression to be protected.
It also said to ensure South Sudan moves away from the legacy of conflict, the fostering of divisions and splits of parties must also stop.