South Sudan's ousted army chief returns to capital

Former Chief of Staff Gen. Paul Malong's return raises speculations over his next move

South Sudan's ousted army chief returns to capital

World Bulletin / News Desk

The ousted army chief of South Sudan returned to the capital, Juba, on Saturday evening three days after being dismissed, raising speculations about his next move, according to a presidential spokesman.

Former Chief of Staff Gen. Paul Malong was sacked and replaced on Tuesday night through a presidential decree.

Malong left the capital without a ceremonial hand over to his successor along with a convey of military vehicles mounted with heavy weapons for his hometown of Awiel in the country’s northwest.

The silent departure had caused apprehensions about his motivations amid rumors of an armed confrontation.

The ex-general “arrived in Juba this afternoon…,” presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told Anadolu Agency via phone from Juba.

Ateny said Malong had left Juba in protest and in an “angry mood”.

“The way he left Juba sends wrong signal to the public, they think he was protesting and this actually caused panic,” he added.

The former military general had led the government’s military campaign against the opposition during three years of civil war in the country.

His sacking followed the resignations of several senior military figures who alleged that there was an ethnic bias in the army.

On Friday, Kiir told the media the ousted military chief was “in fighting mood” when they spoke over the phone. The president had also reiterated his security assurance to Malong if he returned to Juba.

The former chief of staff had refused to board a government plane that was sent to fly him to the capital unless all his bodyguards accompanied him.

On Thursday, Malong said he had been surrounded by forces loyal to Kiir with orders to arrest or kill him.

South Sudan has been mired in civil war since 2013 when Kiir accused his sacked deputy Riek Machar of a coup d’etat against his government. Machar had denied the allegations and then later went on to form a rebellion to oust the government.

Last Mod: 14 Mayıs 2017, 00:32
Add Comment