South Sudan former army chief denies plans to rebel against Kiir

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The former chief of general for South Sudan army (SPLA) General Paul Malong Awan has denied intention to rebel against the government of President Salva Kiir after his sack on Tuesday.

Awan made his denial in a speech delivered at a public rally held in Yirol town, Eastern Lakes State, where he suspended his travel to his home region of Aweil.

Following his abrupt departure from Juba on Tuesday following his removal rumours had been circulating in the capital that Awan would lead a rebellion against Kiir.

The circumstances under which he left the national capital in the night remains unclear and no one knows what prompted him to leave before handing over the office. Security analysts attributed the cause of the removal to tensions between the army under Malong and the National Security Services under Akol Koor have split government, with both officials competing for more control and influence.

The internal security bureau and a section of the army have airlifted forces and deployed them to Rumbek where local authorities have been instructed to fight him if he insists going home.

However, the state governor and other officials successfully persuaded him to speak to the nation if he was not having ill intention.

In his speech, Awan said he was on his way home to Aweil and was surprised he was being followed after he was relieved of his duties. He said whatever was being said about him in regards to his intentions were just rumours and that he only wants peace to prevail in the country.

He further said he has never rebelled against the SPLA or the people of South Sudan and that he was not about to do that.

Also, the former army commander congratulated his successor, General James Ajonga Mawut, pointing out that not only was the replacement from his area but also a blood relative to him. General Ajonga, he said, was a professional and patriotic soldier.

Speaking to the press in Juba on Wednesday, the army spokesperson Colonel Santo Domic Chol told reporters the former chief of general staff has left Juba with no intention to cause a war but unnamed people want to cause a problem.

“Yes, the former Chief of General Staff Paul Malong is not in Juba. He has left Juba to avoid tensions. Some people may go to him and say something that may provoke tension. This is what he did not want and is the reason he decided to leave Juba, he is not planning to rebel, not at all,” said Chol.

The military spokesperson said the military leadership was in contact with him and were planning to return him to Juba. He has now been sent the head of military intelligence, General Marial Nuor and other senior military leaders believed to be people who could persuade him to stop moving further.

Source; Sudan Tribune

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