Releasing S. Sudan ex-army chief could spark war: official

by talkofsudan | Posted on Wednesday, September 13th, 2017


Paul Malong arrives at Juba Airport 13 May 2017 (ST Photo)

September 13, 2017 (JUBA) – There is a likelihood war could break out in South Sudan’s Bahr el Ghazal region, if the former army chief of staff Paul Malong Awan is allowed to travel out of the country, an official said.

The presidential spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny was earmarked saying there was no need for Malong to leave the young nation, given the situation created in his house and the denial by the government to attend his daughter’s burial.

“The situation we are in right now is very volatile. Malong’s being in Juba is related to peace in Bahr el Ghazal [region]. Having him in Juba is to keep peace in Bar El Ghazal. You remember and you found it in the last previous meeting. The meeting was very charged and tense and it was only 30 minutes meeting, but it was so charged and tense”, he said private discussions taped and widely circulated.

According to the official, the only way to resolve this impasse was to take a sample from Malong and subject whatever is taken to a test.

“Or if he [Malong] wants, it can be identified through his saliva or spit, and in this case let the sample be drawn and taken to his family in Nairobi to identify her with it. But it has been politicized already and there is not even a need now for the presidency to sit on it and make it as an agenda and as a subject for discussion”, said Ateny.

The presidential spokesperson claimed the former army chief’s situation was being “exaggerated” and “overplayed” by people in diaspora, many of whom he said were agitators of war in the region.

“They [people] are saying [Salva] Kiir’s government is still strong today and giving people trouble because there is no war in Bahr el Ghazal. Look at the situation we are in at the moment. They want to see a war happening in Bar El Ghazal, and if Malong is allowed to go to Nairobi in this kind of situation we are in, what if he decides not to come back? Mading Aweil would fight with Gogrial tomorrow,” Ateny was further quoted saying.

Although Sudan Tribune could not independently verify the authenticity of the leaked conversation, neither the presidential aide nor the office of the South Sudanese presidency issued a statement.

In May this year, Awan, a former governor, was sacked by President Salva Kiir and replaced by the then former deputy chief of general staff for administration and finance, Lt. Gen. James Ajongo Mawut.

The South Sudanese military had, prior to Malong’s removal, been repeatedly been accused of gross human rights violations, rape, atrocities and war crimes on civilians in the conflict-affected areas.

The three-year conflict in South Sudan killed tens of thousands and displaced more than two million people, the United Nations says, amid fears next year’s planned general elections could further plunge the country into chaos.

(ST)

Source: sudantribune

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