Kiir turns down meeting with Malong – official

South Sudan President Salva Kiir (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

July 2nd 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan President, Salva Kiir Mayardiit, has turned down a request by South Sudan ex-army chief turned rebel leader, General Paul Malong, to meet him in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, a senior government offical said.

Kiir is in Nairobi for a two-day state visit in which he agreed with his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, to form a border committee to resolve the unfolding conflict over the disputed area of Ilema Triangle between tribes from South Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Speaking to Nyamilepedia on Tuesday, a senior government official said Malong had requested the President upon that arrival that he meet him but the later rejected saying he can’t discuss anything outside the ongoing IGAD peace approaches.

“He wanted to meet the president. He did that yesterday when the president arrived in Nairobi and the request was made through the Kenyan government. They (Kenyan government) told us that Malong want to meet him but the president declined,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

“The president of the Republic made it clear to Malong that he can’t meet him for a separate peace talk apart from the process that is being spearheaded by the IGAD and friends of South Sudan,” the official added.

Malong has been a long-time early of President Salva Kiir Mayardiit until his dismissal as Chief of General Staff for the SPLA (now SSPSF) in May 2017 after he was accused by the country’s spy chief, Akol Koor, of planning a coup against Kiir.

He fled in November 2017 to Kenya and then few months later formed a rebel group he named South Sudan United Front (SSUF) that aims to remove President Salva Kiir from power after accusing him of looting the country to a “total bankruptcy.”

Members of Malong’s rebel group were not available for comments.