24th July 2024
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Gen. Gatwech interested in Tumaini Initiative but stranded in Sudan: Makuei

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Sunday, July 7, 2024

General Simon Gatwech Dual (Photo: Courtesy]

The Minister of Information said opposition leader General Simon Gatwech Dual is willing to participate in the Nairobi peace process but he is stranded in war-torn Sudan and unable to jet to Kenya.

Gatwech was the former military chief of the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO), but he staged a rebellion against former boss Dr. Riek Machar in August 2021.

He defected with Gen. Johnson Olony and the duo coined the SPLA-IO Kit-Gwang faction, before splintering again leading to deadly violence in the western Upper Nile region.

Minister Michael Makuei revealed at a press conference on Thursday that all opposition leaders that are not part of the Tumaini Initiative were invited.

“For others who have not joined us, anybody who is still holding out up to now has been officially invited. Gatwech Dual was invited. He is the only genuine person who wanted to come but he could not make it,” the minister said.

“He could not make it because he was in Rebak, and for him to travel from Rebak to Port Sudan to take a plane, that route is blocked by the RSF. So there is no way and we are unable to book a helicopter for him. This is why he could not come.”

Makuei also said the National Salvation Front (NAS) leader General Thomas Cirrillo and Emmanuel Ajawin of National Democratic Movement Patriotic Front (NDM-PF) initially wanted to participate in the negotiations before changing their minds.

“Thomas Cirillo was invited, he wanted to come but I don’t know for his own reason, he decided to go to Australia.”

“Another person who was invited is Emmanuel Yor Ajawin. This is the guy who did not come because he knows why he is not coming. He has no forces. So he is a politician in the diaspora moving with his movement in his bag.”

Emmanuel Ajawin is the leader of the opposition National Democratic Movement-Patriotic Front (NDM-PF).

Eye Radio was unable to reach Mr. Ajawin and General Cirillo for comment on why they have opted to boycott of the talks.

However, in March 2024, Ajawin told Netherlands-based Radio Tamazuj that his group was not participating in the peace talks under the Kenyan auspice, saying some of the concerns they had raised with the mediation team have not been addressed.

The Tumaini Initiative, which started in May 2024, is a south Sudanese peace talk between the government and the opposition parties that were not signatories to the 2018 peace agreement.

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