Under siege South Sudan army chief seeks safe exit to Uganda

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South Sudan Gen. Paul Malong/AP Photo

According to letter he wrote and circulated on November 11, 2017, Gen Malong pleaded that the Juba administration be prevailed upon to allow him safely move to Uganda.

“I should be allowed together with my guards to seek shelter and asylum at any UN camp in order to preserve my life and those around me,” the letter reads.

He has been holed up at his home in Juba with about 30 bodyguards and the situation escalated last week when government troops surrounded his house trying to disarm the guards.

Gen Malong also asked the South Sudan government to unconditionally release all his loyalists who escorted him to Yirol and were currently being detained by the National Security Service (NSS) in Juba.

The former powerful military commander claimed that Presidential Salva Kiir’s order dated November 3 had a sole effect of endangering both his life and the lives of his bodyguards, adding that it could also heighten countrywide.

“Mindful of the urgent need to preserve peace and security in the Republic of South Sudan and appreciative of the ongoing efforts to find peaceful and amicable solution to the crisis, my conditions must be met,”

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.