High brass military officers in South Sudan, including a former Chief of Staff, are on the run for their lives since Tuesday, May 9, 2017, creating what diplomatic sources say is an “alarming situation” there.
President Salva Kirr has sacked his Chief of Staff, Paul Malong Awan (Gen.), who spurted to Aweil town while fully armed, according to sources in the capital Juba. Malong left Juba on Tuesday morning with 20 conveys seen at Terekaka towards Rumbek, the capital of Lakes State, central South Sudan, eyewitnesses told Fortune. Rumbek was once the capital of the nation.
The reason behind the changes in the top position in the inner circle of the President remains undisclosed. But South Sudan’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, James Pitail Morgan, downplayed the case, referring it as a regular reshuffle.
“He has served for four years and handed over his office to his successor,” Morgan said.
Kiir has appointed James Ajongo Mawut (Lut.) as his new Chief of Staff, who came from the same areas as Malong.
A day earlier of the announcement of Malong’s removal on the South Sudan national television, Taban Deng Gai, vice president of South Sudan, flew to Bor, the capital of Jonglei State. His travel there was rumoured to be related to a fear of rebellion by Malong and his supporters in his native land. But Sudanese Ambassador in Addis Abeba denies this, dismissing the claims as “a fabrication by Riek Machar”, the disgruntled former vice president of South Sudan, and now in exile in South Africa.
“The reason why the Vice President flew to Bor is to have a national dialogue with the people in the area,” Morgan told Fortune.
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