11 May 2017

South Sudan: Sacked South Sudan Military Chief Paul Malong to Return to Juba

Sacked South Sudan military chief Paul Malong has complied with the government's order to return to the capital Juba.

The controversial former Chief of General Staff of the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLA) left Juba after being dismissed on Tuesday night.

Gen Malong retreated Yirol in Eastern Lakes State with his 20 bodyguards, according to Information minister Marial Amum.

Mr Amum said Gen Malong reported to the office of the governor.

As of Wednesday evening, he was still in Yirol, but said he would return to Juba once a plane was sent to pick him up with his guards, Mr Amum confirmed to the local media.

Gen Malong also confirmed that the said plane would land in Juba from Yirol.

"I am waiting for the airplane in Yirol. I will return to Juba when it comes," Gen Malong told a local radio.

"I am a soldier and that I was moving with my bodyguards should not surprise people and make them panic," he said.

Gen Malong was replaced by his deputy, Gen James Alonga Mawut.

He accepted the replacement, saying his successor was a well-trained military officer.

"Ajonga is a brilliant officer. He is a very strong officer. He has contributed so much to this nation to get independence. I cannot be unhappy with his appointment," he said.

General Malong urged citizens across the country not to panic or listen to wild rumours that caused fear.

He said he had no intention to rebel against the nation, adding that the changes in the military high command were normal.

However, it remains unclear why Gen Malong left Juba at night, on the same day he was removed from his position.

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