JUBA – South Sudan’s once powerful military figure, a man the UN believed to have committed mass atrocities in South Sudan’s civil war has now found himself in an ugly battle with his former boss.
Gen Malong Awan Anei, the former Chief of Staff who was unceremoniously stripped and clipped off his powers in May this year has found his life on the edge this week after President Salva Kiir ordered to have his more than 15 bodyguards disarmed, his mobile phones confiscated and physical interaction with his many wives, sons and extended family severed. Kiir in an ordered dated October 30, 2017 did not specify the reason behind the decree of disarming Malong’s guards.
“Some quarters in the military specially those close to the new Chief of the Defence Forces, General James Ajongo Mawut want Malong to be taken to the blue house (a notorious military prison in Juba serving hundreds of hungry military inmates). Gen Ajongo Mawut and President Kiir are still upset with the way Malong handled his removal. Especially that he left Juba very mad and without letting the president know. There is also a continuous purging of Malong Awan supporters here especially high ranking officers being targeted because they are still sympathetic to him” – A military source told this paper on condition of anonymity due to the volatility of the matter.
The military sources also believed that the recent revolt declared by Chan Garang Lual, an Aweil officer who left Juba after failing to forcefully release Gen Malong from house arrest triggered the disarmament order. Chan is now in Amandi with hundreds of soldiers and refusing to go to Aweil. Instead, he wants to fight back.
Last night, the head of military operation Gen Mangar Buong deployed hundreds of soldiers and surrounded Malong’s home. Gen Buong wants all the bodyguards of Malong to be turned in. He want Malong to remain with at least 3 bodyguards as maximum. The tension was high and Malong refused to give in. This morning, a dialogue was initiated between Malong and the military command of the SPLA which abruptly failed. The disarmament force came back again to Malong’s house this afternoon demanding that the bodyguards peacefully cooperates. Malong instructed his bodyguards to give up the gun and redeploy per the instructions but the head of the unit refuses, saying it’s “an embarrassment”
Malong’s family fear for the worst. Malong’s wife Lucy Ayak in an interview with SBS Dinka said that the government wants to provoke the situation in order to kill her husband.
“…I’m very worried. this is another escalation or the government needs to provoke the situation in order to kill my husband. and if anything bad happen to him, we will hold President Kiir responsible for all these. Now the compound is surrounded by over 500 soldiers and you have seen the orders. Any attempt to resist by any soldier would be fighting. why are we doing this?” – Lucy on SBS
According to sources close to the Upper Nile Times, there is also an effort of negotiation going on. The Dinka council of elders (a tribal Jieng body reporting to Salva Kiir) are working to diffuse the situation by trying to initiate a direct phone conversation between Kiir and Malong.
THE UPPER NILE TIMES