South Sudan Government in fear the Sacked army Chief may rebel

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General Paul Malong Awan

By Nangayi Guyson- nangayi.guyson@alleastafrica.com

Juba– South Sudan’s former army Chief Paul Malong who left the capital Juba suddenly after his sacking on Tuesday has brought about fears that he may be planning to join other forces fighting President Salva Kiir.

Malong who was dismissed on Tuesday is said to have immediately left Juba in Anger which prompted government to worry about his next move.

Defence Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk is quoted by Sudan tribune saying “We do not know exactly what the reasons may be but he has left for Aweil,” he said, adding Malong may have departed out of anger.

Juuk said he had since spoken to Malong and convinced him to return to Juba, but it was not known when that would happen.

Malong’s sacking follows a wave of resignations by senior generals in recent months alleging tribal bias and war crimes.

Some of the departed officers subsequently said they might join the revolt against President Salva Kiir.

In February, defence logistics Chief Thomas Cirillo Swaka resigned, citing human rights abuses by Kiir’s armed forces and the dominance of the president’s Dinka group.

Following his abrupt departure from Juba on Tuesday following his removal and rumours circulating in the capital that Awan would lead a rebellion against Kiir, General Paul Malong Awan has denied intention to rebel against the government of President Salva Kiir .

Awan made his denial in a speech delivered at a public rally held in Yirol town, Eastern Lakes State, where he suspended his travel to his home region of Aweil.

The circumstances under which he left the national capital in the night remains unclear and no one knows what prompted him to leave before handing over the office.

Security analysts attributed the cause of the removal to tensions between the army under Malong and the National Security Services under Akol Koor have split government, with both officials competing for more control and influence.
The internal security bureau and a section of the army have airlifted forces and deployed them to Rumbek where local authorities have been instructed to fight him if he insists going home.

However, the state governor and other officials successfully persuaded him to speak to the nation if he was not having ill intention.

In his speech, Awan said he was on his way home to Aweil and was surprised he was being followed after he was relieved of his duties. He said whatever was being said about him in regards to his intentions were just rumours and that he only wants peace to prevail in the country.

The military spokesperson said the military leadership was in contact with him and were planning to return him to Juba. He has now been sent the head of military intelligence, General Marial Nuor and other senior military leaders believed to be people who could persuade him to stop moving, the Sudan Tribune Reports.

South Sudan, which obtained independence from Sudan in 2011, has been mired in civil war since 2013 when Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired his deputy, Riek Machar, from the rival Nuer community.

The conflict has forced more than 3-million people to flee their homes the neighboring countries.

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