Nov 11, 2017(Nyamilepedia) — Latest reports from the South Sudanese capital, Juba, confirmed that the former Chief of General Staff of the SPLA, Lt. Gen. Paul Malong Awan, remains under house arrest with no clear indication that he is free to leave the capital any time soon.
A presidential aid contacted by Nyamilepedia confirmed that Gen. Malong is not yet released, however, president Salva Kiir has ordered his army Chief of Staff, Gen. James Ajongo Mawut, to remove his tanks from Malong’s residence in order to deescalate tension and allow an ongoing negotiation to proceed.
“I cannot confirm to you if Malong is released because that decision remains in the hands of H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit. What I know so far is that President Kiir has ordered the tanks that are surrounding Gen. Malong’s residence to be removed and that has been taken care of the chief of defence forces of SPLA” said the Presidential aid on assurance of anonymity.
Asked of why more than five tanks had to be deployed initially when the former Chief of General Staff had only 28 bodyguards who are armed with only light rifles, the insider downplayed if the intention was to intimidate Malong into submission but instead he calls it a military mindset.
“In military you cannot underestimate your opponent, you need to use all your force to crush them before they crush you. That was the order given by the president to use maximum force as applicable to deal with any resistance from Malong’s men” The aid continued.
Asked of why Gen. Malong has now turned into a sworn enemy to President Kiir when he was the “The King” and the man of yesterday, he said Malong has betrayed the country when he failed to hand over the Chief of Staff to his predecessor in peace and that shows that Malong has been working for his own interest from within.
Earlier reports indicate that a group of Dinka elders, who have volunteered to resolve the matter and ease tension, have made a breakthrough and Malong was released, however, there hasn’t been any official confirmation and a media briefing so far to confirm the allegations from the presidency.
According to Presidential adviser on decentralization and intergovernmental linkage, Tor Deng Mawien, who spoke to Sudan Tribune yesterday, on November 10th, the talks are continuing saying that he had no information on Gen. Malong’s released
“I have no such information. What I know is that talks are continuing. When they are concluded they will be made public and both sides will speak to the public. What is true is that the President of the Republic has demonstrated critical leadership in this matter and has made it clear that the standoff will be resolved amicably through elders and the religious leaders,” said Mawien.
President Kiir’s press secretary, Ateny Wek Ateny, also said he has no information on Malong’s released.
A controversial assurance on Malong’s release was announced through the SBS Dinka radio two days ago by the mediating Dinka Council of elders who claim to be the “SPLM/A Leaders”.
The group of elders, led by a retired SPLA general, Gen Bona Bang Dhel and Agasio Akol Tong, approached Gen. Malong in his residence on November 9th to convince him to comply with the presidential order to let go his bodyguards and keep only 5 of the 28 soldiers.
After Gen. Malong accepted to let go the bodyguards and set his preconditions, the elders rushed to conclusion that President Kiir will accept Gen. Malong’s preconditions and revoke his Republican Decrees on the ground that they are “the leaders of SPLM/A and Kiir must listen to them”, not anybody else.
“I am sure hundred percent because we are the leaders of SPLA/M. We are sure he[Malong] accepted our advice.” Said Bona Bang Dhel
“No, we wouldn’t accept that. We are the leaders and he should accept our advice, not others. I am one of the Generals who fought and all of us who took this role and President should accept our advice.” Bang continued.
The elders were speaking on November 9th with hope to meet and persuade President Kiir to revoke his decree on November 10th, however, no official communication has came out of the meeting between President Kiir and the elders for the last two days.
Gen. Malong’s outspoken wife, Lucy Ayak, said she hasn’t received any document stating Malong’s release and terms of his released.
The earlier reports alleged that Malong would be allowed to travel to Kenya, however, Gen. Malong is sanctioned by the United States and Canada raising fear that the East African region may not accept to host him until his sanctions are relieved.
It remains to be verified at this time but it is less likely that President Kiir may allow Gen. Malong to travel to his hometown in Northern Bhar el Ghazal if the region refuses to accommodate him in their respective countries.