Agwelek Raises “Red Flag” As Machar Intends to Replace Gen. Olony

General Johnson Olony, commander of the Agwelek refused to be replaced |Photo: Courtesy

Shilluk Agwelek, a paramilitary group fighting alongside the SPLM/A-IO, has rejected the planned replacement of its leader, General Johnson Olony, an SPLM-IO nominee for Upper Nile state.

“After consulting with the political and military leadership, and on the background of your phone call regarding my going to Juba or changing me to another candidate, the political and military leadership refused to replace the candidate Johnson Olony with another candidate,” said Johnson Olony in a statement extended to the media.

Speaking to the press on the same development, former minister of the now-defunct Fashoda State, Maurice Orach, explained that they had received a phone call from Machar, asking Olony to go to Juba as a last resort for his appointment, but they rejected the decision due to security concerns.

“We want to set the facts straight for the people of South Sudan that on January 22nd January, Riek Machar called the governor candidate, Johnson Olony, and asked him to go to Juba because the situation in Juba has become difficult and it is necessary for him to go to Juba to be appointed governor, but we reject this idea as the political and military leadership,” Orach added.

In recent days, the Chairman of the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO), Dr. Machar and members of the Political Bureau held a meeting and discussed how to replace General Johnson, whom the Kiir administration had long refused to appoint.

Since last year, Olony has been asked to report himself in Juba by the SPLM-IO leadership, citing his reluctance to comply with the decision impedes efforts to appoint him as governor of Upper Nile state.

In August 2020, President Kiir rejected Olony’s nomination, arguing that he was still an active militia commander who patently operates outside the SPLM-IO leadership.