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Hold-out Group SSOMA wants Lt. Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual to join their peace-talk ranks

July 05, 2021 — A hold-out opposition group known as UDRM/A, a member of the largely divided South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance(SSOMA),  is extending a flavored good-gesture to the SPLM/A-IO Chief of General Staff, 1st. Lt. Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, an Anyanya veteran who is holding his grounds against the will of his Commander-in-Chief and Chairman of SPLM/A-IO, Dr. Riek Machar Teny.

SPLA-IO Chief of Gen. Staff Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual as he returns to Juba for the first time since 2013 in April 2016 (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

According to the Secretary General of the UDRM/A, Mr. Deng Vanang, who is also a senior member of SSOMA Leadership Council, the barely heard of hold-out opposition held a lengthy meeting over the weekend to analyze how best the group may step in especially to win Gen. Gatwech’s taste should things continue to drip apart between him and Machar.

“On the night of Saturday – Sunday, 4th of July, 2021, Leadership Council of United Democratic Revolutionary Movement/Army under the able Chairman and Commander-In-Chief, Thomas Tut Doap Jiek met and extensively deliberated on the historic and patriotic move made possible by SPLA-IO’s Chief of General Staff, 1st Lt. General Simon Gatwech Dual Hoth.” Mr. Deng Vanang said.

According to Mr. Vanang, SSOMA is following the events that are unfolding within the SPLM/A-IO keenly and as such they are lining up their supports behind the Chief of Staff as he continues to make what they believe is an “unequivocal stand” or a bold decision.

“The discrepancy later escalated into major political showdown ever since the guerilla movement’s inception in January, 2014, when Dr. Machar excessively responded in June this year with unexpected sacking of 1st Lt. General Gatwech as Chief of General Staff of eight years and his subsequent appointment as Presidential Advisor on peace affairs.” Deng explains.

According to Deng Vanang, UDRM/A stands in solidarity with General Simon Gatwech Dual and are ready to extend “unreserved support morally, politically and militarily if aggressed” by Salva Kiir and Riek Machar.

“In solidarity, therefore, UDRM/A cordially extends its revolutionary salute and congratulation to 1st Lt. General Simon Gatwech on his unequivocal stand in forfeiting his personal interest for that of South Sudanese people, making him first of a kind high profile official to turn down a lucrative post in a country where senior citizens are obsessed with power and its trappings.” Vanang further said.

“And further assures him and his gallant forces of unreserved support morally, politically and militarily if aggressed by predatory forces of President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his perennial archrival turned friendly First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon.” He continued.

The UDRM/A believes that what Gen. Simon Gatwech wants – the implementation of the security arrangement or the entire peace agreement – is what UDRM/A has been standing for and that makes them “legitimate partners in opposition”.

“What the 1st Lt. General opines is one among several shortfalls of the four-year old Khartoum peace agreement that made UDRM/A, as prominent constituent member of SSOMA, cautiously hold out since 2018.” Deng Vanang said.

“Such failing makes UDRM/A and SPLA-IO’s holdout faction under 1st Lt. General Gatwech legitimate partners in opposition to the peace deal made right from start impractical by General Salva Kiir Mayardit.” UDRM/A secretary general added.

UDRM/A is one of the six minor armed-political parties that form the hold-out alliance known as the South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance(SSOMA).

For the last two years, SSOMA has tried to engage the revitalized transitional government of national unity through the Roman Catholic peace initiative in Rome, Italy and Naivasha, Kenya; however, the group has broken up several times into more factions, some under Gen. Paul Malong and Pagan Amum, and other groups under Gen. Thomas Cirillo.

The two main groups have been affected by further defections and redefections giving the RTGoNU an upper hand to dictate when, where and how the talks should be held.

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