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South Sudan troops continue surrounding former army chief’s home

By Emmanuel Pagan

JUBA – Government troops are still surrounding the home of the former powerful army chief, Gen Paul Malong in an attempt to disarm his 30 bodyguards.

The standoff began on Friday evening when more than 100 soldiers surrounded his residence in central Juba, South Sudan’s capital, in a move that has caused fear among the residents staying near the General’s home.

AFP reported that people could be seen on Sunday venturing out for early-morning prayers even though troops remained in the streets around his home in the central Hai Amarat neighbourhood.

The United Nations issued an emergency notification advising staff in the capital, Juba, to remain vigilant.

The Acting army spokesman Col. Santo Domic Chol said on Saturday that whatever was taking place was “political.”

Gen Malong was accused of directing last year’s fighting in Juba that killed hundreds. A former governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, he also has been accused of controlling an ethnic militia that numbers in the thousands.

In September the United States imposed sanctions on Malong, along with two senior South Sudan officials, for undermining the country’s peace, security and stability.

South Sudan’s civil war erupted in late 2013 and has killed tens of thousands of people and sent more than 2.4 million fleeing the country.

Most of these refugees have run to Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan, creating the largest displacement of civilians in Africa since the Rwanda genocide in 1994.

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