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S. Sudanese militia commander backs Juba regime

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May 1, 2015 (JUBA) - A militia commander linked to South Sudan army has vowed to continue backing the Juba government, regardless of the latter’s alleged plan to kill him.

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Rebel commander Johnson Olony speaks to the press upon arrival at Juba international airport on 13 June 2013 (ST)

Johnson Olony accused unnamed people of spreading lies that he rebelled against government and the country, allegedly for masterminding recent armed confrontation in Malakal between his forces and the gubernatorial guards.

“There are people who are spreading lies about me. They are saying I have rebelled, [which] is not true. I have not rebelled. I have been in constant contact with the general headquarters, with chief of general staff, with deputy chief of general staff for operations throughout”, Olony told Sudan Tribune by phone on Friday.

“I will never rebel against our people even if the government wants to kill me”, he added.

Olony burst into the limelight as a militia commander in Shilluk kingdom of Upper Nile state between 2010 and April 2012, when he and several other militia groups, responded to a presidential amnesty to abandon rebellion against president, Salva Kiir.

He was later integrated in to the SPLA at the rank of Major General, adjusting down self-promotion from Lieutenant General at the time of abandoning rebellion, but continues to control his forces, which operates separately from the army’s local command structure.

He neither reports to the SPLA’s 1st and 7th division commanders, nor the overall sector commander, but to the general headquarters, contrary to the conventional military chain of command structure.

His forces have, however, fought alongside the government troops against armed opposition fighters allied to the former vice president Riek Machar, during the fight to take and retain control over Malakal town which has changed hands several times between forces when the conflict broke out in 2013.

Las month, Olony’s forces clashed with gubernatorial guards in Malakal after his forces were allegedly denied access to one of Upper Nile governor, Simon Kun Puoc’s guards who sought treatment at local clinic in town. Olony does not deny the charge.

The clash forced the state government to relocate from Malakal town after days of fighting as several pro-government troops were sent to calm the Upper Nile situation.

Gordon Buay, a representative of the South Sudanese government mission in the United States, also dismissed claims that Olony had rebelled against the government.

Buay attributed the recent clashes in Malakal to “mere misunderstandings” and that the Juba government was now working to amicably resolve the matter peacefully.

“It is not correct. General Olony is with the government. He has not rebelled. All that has been said in the media is propaganda by the rebels. He is part of the government”, Buay said on Friday, adding that the government had already sent a team to Malakal to defuse the tension and allow resumption of normal life and activities in town.

(ST)

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  • 2 May 2015 09:29, by jacob mayen ajuoi

    Goverment should work hard to put an end this issue of rebelled. I fails to get understand from chief of General staff. since the forces of Olony and David Yau yau, are integrating into South Sudan national Army. why are they still Commanding separate army? On my own analysis these two men are here only for buying time....otherwise still they are against Goverment.

    repondre message

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