Skip to main content
Malakal - 13 May 2023

Gen. Johnson Olony arrives Malakal en route to Juba

Gen. Johnson Olony. (File photo)
Gen. Johnson Olony. (File photo)

The leader of the Agwelek Faction and renegade General Johnson Olony who has severally defected from the government is expected in Juba on Sunday after arriving in Malakal Town in Upper Nile State on Saturday, his spokesperson said.

Major General Yusif Paulo Ngor told Radio Tamazuj Saturday that preparations for Gen. Olony’s travel were complete and he was supposed to go to Juba on Saturday but could not due to unavoidable circumstances and that he would now depart on Sunday morning.

“Preparations are done and Gen. Olony arrived in Malakal today (Saturday) with Gen. Thomas Dubor and Gen Beny Mun from Wau Shilluk where he has been based. They will now travel to Juba tomorrow (Sunday) due to circumstances beyond our control,” he said. “As of now they are in Malakal and are on standby and will hopefully fly to Juba tomorrow at 10:00 am.”

According to Gen. Ngor, Olony’s mission to Juba is to meet President Kiir to agree on how to implement the agreement that was signed in Khartoum.

“We are ready to implement all the protocols we have signed with the government so Gen. Olony is going to Juba with his team to meet President Salva Kiir about the implementation of the agreement,” he said. “He (Olony) will not return until it (agreement) has been implemented and God willing, everything will be in place.”  

Gen. Olony initially defected from the government and went back to rebellion to fight to protect the land of the Chollo (Shilluk) people in Upper Nile State. He however eventually joined Dr. Riek Machar’s SPLM/A-IO. Olony was nominated to be governor of Upper Nile State by Dr. Machar when governors were being appointed under the 2018 revitalized peace agreement.  

President Salva Kiir, however, rejected his nomination by the SPLM-IO on account of Olony being a “warmonger”. 

In August 2021, Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual issued a communiqué following a meeting of SPLA-IO commanders in Kitgwang in Magenis, a northern-most town bordering Sudan declaring that they had ousted Dr. Machar as the leader of the SPLM/A-IO. In what has since come to be known as the Kitgwang Declaration, Gatwech declared himself the new leader and appointed Gen. Olony as his number two.

In January 2022, the Kitgwang SPLM/A-IO faction signed a peace agreement in Khartoum with President Kiir’s government. The Agwelek forces led by Olony also signed a separate agreement with the government at the same time. The Kitgwang faction however became disillusioned months after the signing of the peace deal and blamed the government for not implementing it.

Gatwech and Olony later fell out and the former fired the latter as his deputy and their forces clashed severally. Olony would later say that he was for peace and willing to go to Juba.

Gen. Olony’s going to Juba has been the result of months of protracted negotiations with the Juba government according to informed sources