Mathiang Anyoor enabled Malong to challenge Kiir – report

Ex-South Sudan army chief, General Paul Malong, left, greeting President Salva Kiir Mayardiit, right, (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

October 9th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – The ethnic militia, Mathiang Anyoor, enabled former army chief General Paul Malong Awan to ascend to a powerful army chief attracting to a position to challenge President Salva Kiir, a new report released this week by the Small Arms Survey has said.

Mathiang Anyoor is a militia group in South Sudan accused of massacring thousands of ethnic Nuer in Juba in December 2013 leading to the ongoing civil war.

The report , titled: “INSECURE POWER AND VIOLENCE: The Rise and Fall of Paul Malong and the Mathiang Anyoor,” said Mathiang Anyoor originated in the country’s Northern Bahr El-Ghazal state and were later used by General Malong as a mean of challenging President Kiir after they were moved to Juba in December 2013 following large defection of the army following the onset of the civil war.

The Mathiang Anyoor fighters originated in Northern Bahr el Ghazal,” the report said. “They were later pulled into South Sudan’s national power struggle, largely by Paul Malong, to defend President Salva Kiir’s government following the large-scale defections from the SPLA at the outbreak of the civil war in 2013.

The importance of the Mathiang Anyoor in the SPLA’s 2013–2016 offensives elevated Malong’s military power, enabling him to challenge Kiir’s rule,” the report added.

It said their deployment to the country’s capital “led to an increasingly fractious relationship between Malong and Akol Koor, Kiir’s internal security chief in the National Security Service (NSS), which culminated in Malong’s sacking in 2017 and eventual exile to Kenya.”

These political dynamics precipitated the rise of Akol’s NSS as the dominant security agency in South Sudan. While Mathiang Anyoor members were initially recruited for defensive border protection on the Sudan border, many in Kiir’s Bahr el Ghazal political base accepted—or exploited—a prevailing narrative that the Mathiang Anyoor were mobilized to defend Kiir against a coup attempt by former first vice president and leader of the SPLA-in-Opposition (SPLA-IO), Riek Machar.

The Mathiang Anyoor’s existence highlights over a decade of flawed donor-backed initiatives to establish an integrated national army and—as of October 2019—a tribalized national army remains an obstacle to resolving the conflict. Political and community elites widely believe armed mobilization is the precondition of political power and local defence in South Sudan, during both war and peace.”

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