The leader of the opposition National Democratic Movement (NDM) Lam Akol has denied taking sides in the recent fighting between factions of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-in opposition (SPLM/A-IO) in Upper Nile State.
“When fighting broke out between the two SPLM/A-IO factions last year, the disinformation emanating from Gatwech –Olony faction was that NDM was involved in the fighting on the side of Dr. Riek Machar,” Mahmoud Akot, NDM spokesman said in a statement on Sunday.
“We would like to put it categorically clear that NDM has no business with SPLM/A-IO infighting. Dr. Riek Machar, Simon Gatwech and Johnson Olony are leaders in the SPLM/A-IO,” Akot disclosed.
Gen. Johnson Olony’s splinter faction of SPLA-IO last week clashed with the faction loyal to Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual in Panyikang County of Upper Nile state.
The fighting which took place particularly around Nyelwaak and Deji areas left 21 civilians killed.
“The NDM has no force roaming in different parts of South Sudan at the moment. NDM forces are in cantonment and training centers in Alel and Tawfigiya in Upper Nile,” Akot said.
In August 2021, First Vice President Riek Machar’s former chief of staff Gatwech togedther with Olony appeared to depose the latter from chairmanship of the former rebel movement.
The renegade generals blamed Machar for nepotism and weak leadership over the party in the transitional unity government formed since February 2020.
The factions started fighting in Magenis area of Upper Nile leaving hundreds of soldiers killed from both sides.