Kiir says Malong turned against him because he was removed

Gen. Paul Malong Awan (File photo)
Gen. Paul Malong Awan (File photo)

May 18th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s incumbent president, Salva Kiir Mayardiit said his former ally, the former SPLA chief of general staff Gen. Paul Malong Awan,  rebelled against his government because he was removed from his top army position. The president was speaking during a meeting with the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) who paid him a visit in his official residence in the nation’s capital Juba on Thursday evening.

Kiir asked whether Gen. Paul Malong Awan would have rebelled if he were not removed from the top army post stressing that the tradition of some South Sudanese politicians of rebelling when removed will not take the country anywhere.

“Somebody like Paul Malong, do you think he would have rebelled if he was not removed?” he asked adding that “This thinking of people rebelling when they are reshuffled will not take us anywhere and this country will remain like this. There will never be progress and people are right to question the cause of war: what we fought for.”

President Salva Kiir removed Gen. Paul Malong in May 2017 reportedly after the country’s head of the National Security Services Gen. Akol Kor advised Kiir to remove the powerful army chief after allegedly uncovering a coup plan by Malong who later denied the allegation.

Malong then fled Juba in protest of the dismissal heading towards his hometown Aweil but was forcefully returned to the capital Juba from Yirol and was subsequently put under house arrest by the South Sudanese leader until the Jieng Council of Elders successfully advised Kiir to release him on health grounds in November 2017.

Malong went to Nairobi and few days later the government made public audio tapes portraying Malong ordering his loyalists in the SPLA to attack Juba and Wau but Malong denied and accused the national security of falsely tarnishing his image.

However, in March 2018, Malong formed his own movement accusing president Salva Kiir of looting the country to Bankruptcy.

South Sudan descended into civil war in December 2013 after forces loyal to the country’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardiit and his then Governor of Northern Bahr Al-Ghazal State Gen. Paul Malong Awan went door-to-door in the capital Juba killing civilians belonging to the Nuer ethnic group sparking a nation-wide protests from top army generals from the Nuer leading to a civil war.

A peace agreement signed in August 2015 by President Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar and negotiated under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union (AU) in presence of Troika and other international observers collapsed in July 2016 following fighting at the presidential palace in Juba “J1” reportedly after President Kiir ordered a failed attempt to arrest the SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar.

Late last year, the IGAD decided to revive the peace agreement and had initiated a peace revival mechanism known as the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) to bring back to life the 2015 peace agreement. Previous rounds of the HLRF has been unsuccessful and the IGAD said it expect the warring parties to negotiate on the last round of talks which commenced on Thursday.

The IGAD has given the negotiating parties May 21st as the ultimatum to sign a peace deal. But it is not clear what would be the consequences in case the warring parties do not meet the dateline.

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