July 22nd 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s former SPLA Chief of General Staff, Gen. Paul Malong Awan, who is now a rebel leader, said he was mandated by Kiir to dislodge Machar from Juba and pursue him to the Democratic Republic of Congo in July 2016.
In July 2016, fighting broke out at the Presidential Palace J1 between guards loyal to Kiir and Machar marking the collapse of the transitional government formed less than three months early.
Machar then withdrew and fled to Congo DRC after thousands of government troops stationed in the capital Juba attacked his Jebel residence using heavy artillery and aerial bombardment.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Malong’s spokesman denied responsibility of his Chairman for pursuing Machar to DRC in July 2016 saying he was mandated by Kiir to do so because Kiir was the Commander-in-Chief.
“He [Paul Malong] commanded the forces under the instruction of Commander-in-chief [Salva Kiir] and pursuing Dr. Riek Machar was one of such mandates as ordered by the commander-in-chief and nothing was personal,” Malong’s spokesman said in a statement.
The statement further accused the former SPLM-IO Taban faction of spearheading the plan to kill Machar which resulted in his displacement to DR Congo.
“While Dr. Riek Machar was pursued, the architects for that ploy were the current SPLM-IO in government in conjunction with Salva Kiir,” the statement further said.
In Spetember 2016, a United Nations report on the fighting in Juba in July that year said the fighting was ordered by the top leadership of the army mentioning President Kiir himself who is the Commander-in-Chief of the SPLA and Gen. Paul Malong who was then the SPLA Chief of General Staffs.