9 May 2017

South Sudan President Kiir Sacks Army Boss

Photo: Voice of America
South Sudan President Salva Kiir.

A row has erupted over who could be behind the protests that erupted in the South Sudan capital Juba on Monday, with reports indicating that SPLA Chief of General Staff, Gen Paul Malong Awan was behind the protests.

Students on Monday took to the streets to protest against the rise in the cost of living. The protesters who were joined by Juba residents chanted slogans against President Salva Kiir and carried banners accusing him of collapsing the country.

The protesters said the government was mismanaging the economy, forcing inflation to skyrocket. They called for the restoration of subsidies to basic food commodities to ease the impact of the rising inflation on the population.

The row has ended in the reported sacking of Gen Malong. Our sources have intimated to us that the long-serving army general, who has been at the forefront of quelling a number of uprisings in the country, has been relieved of his duties.

Our sources in the presidential palace J1 indicated that the plan to fire Gen Malong was long hatched when those reportedly against him placed the powerful general behind the 2013 fighting that broke out in Juba, forcing then First Vice President Riek Machar to later flee the country.

Media reports also placed Malong to be the real base of power in Juba--with some saying that president Kiir cannot openly challenge his general who is interested inseizing power for himself.

In an interview with Daily Monitor last year, Gen Malong denied the claims that he was behind the fighting, saying at the time the fighting broke out at the presidential palace, he was

attending a function out of Juba. He was later called in by president Kiir and asked to escort Dr Machar to his residence when the fighting subsided.

In November last year, the United States proposed that the United Nations Security Council blacklist Gen Malong along with Dr Machar, and South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei.

The United States circulated the three names to the 15-member council in an annex to a draft resolution that would place an arms embargo on the world's newest nation amid warnings by a senior U.N. official of possible genocide.

The petition did not however live to see the light of day as Russia and China, members with council veto powers, both voiced opposition to the arms embargo and any sanctions.

Our source has pitted General Malong's woes to infighting within the security organs. Daily Monitor has learnt that there has been a long going battle against Gen Malong, which has been led by officers in the National Security organ.

According to our source, Gen Malong's tough stance against indiscipline in the army, coupled with his fight against corruption have put him on bad terms with security operatives.

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