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Sacked South Sudan Army Chief Flees Without Handing Over

Gen Paul Malong

The sacked powerful SPLA Chief of Staff, sick Gen. Paul Malong has fled from capital Juba without handing over to his successor.

On Tuesday evening, illness President Salva Kiir replaced Malong who has been his long-time ally with Gen. Ajongo Mawut James who was previously Deputy Chief of Staff in charge of finance and administration.

The dropped army chief on Wednesday together with his escorts left Juba to his home area of Aweil.

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There were earlier reports of him planning to rebel against the administration of President Kiir but on Thursday Malong told reporters at his home that his exit from the capital was to avoid a possible clash between his guards and soldiers in Juba.

Meanwhile President Kiir, who also addressed press the following day on Friday, disagreed with Malong and said the former army chief should have first thanked him as the appointing authority for giving him the opportunity to lead the army, and handed over to the new Chief of Staff.

The President appealed to Malong to return to Juba and ordered for all necessary arrangements for his safety.

“All relevant security agents have been directed to carry out the necessary protocols to ensure his safe return to Juba. I am confident that these directives will be carried out and that our brother will return to join hands with us in our quest to consolidate peace and stability in our beloved country,” Kiir said.

He added that he is still communicating with Paul Malong and urged the citizens to stay calm.

“I am aware that this change of command and the consequent departure of former Chief of Staff have caused some apprehension across the country. I am here to assure you that the security situation remains normal,” he added.

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