Paul Malong Awan, former South Sudan’s army chief of general staff has withdrawn with his security guards to outside of Juba but is not planning for war, a spokesman for the SPLA army said this morning.
Malong, who was a key player in the ongoing ethnic conflict in South Sudan, was removed by President Salva Kiir on Tuesday and replaced with Gen. James Ajongo Mawut.
“Paul Malong has gone to Eastern Lakes to avoid further tensions, he is not planning to rebel, but people just want to cause problems, he is in contact with the SPLA leadership,” SPLA spokesman Santo Domic told Radio Tamazuj, saying the security situation in Juba is clam.
“The SPLA has not received any information that Malong is planning to rebel. What we know is that he left Juba without any clashes in Juba,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ateny Wek Ateny, South Sudan’s presidential spokesman, confirmed that Paul Malong left Juba and that he is now heading to Aweil. “Malong is now in an area near Yirol and there are steps being taken to convince him to return back to Juba,” said Ateny.
He pointed out that that the former chief of general of staff left Juba with some of his bodyguards, while denying reports that Malong has decided to rebel against Kiir government.
But a former minister in Western Lakes State who preferred not to be named, claimed the state government had received orders to fight Paul Malong’s troops when they arrive in the state.
“We are now in a bad situation waiting for Paul Malong and Western Lakes State is ready to fight him,” said the former official.
He also pointed out that Gen. Paul Malong left Juba on Tuesday evening shortly after being relieved from his position as SPLA chief of general staff by South Sudan President Salva Kiir.
The former state official stated that the former chief of general staff Paul Malong is now in a distance of one hour away toward Yirol town in a village called Panbaar in Aliab area.“We don’t know whether the authorities in Eastern Lakes will arrest him or not but we are waiting to fight him if he arrives Rumbek town,” he said.
Moreover, a military source confirmed to Radio Tamazuj that Paul Malong has rebelled against Kiir government, saying Malong rebelled together with top generals including Charles Dut Akot, Akech Adim, Marial Nuor, Jiel Mangok, Yel Deng Nguel and Riny Tueny Mabor.
The same source pointed out that Malong felt betrayed after his removal by President Kiir.