April 13, 2018 (JUBA) – A member of the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), an advisory body To South Sudan President Salva Kiir, has expressed dismay over the ex-army chief of staff’s move to rebel.
- Former South Sudan army chief of staff, Gen Paul Malong Awan (Juba24 News)
General Paul Malong announced the formation of the South Sudan United Front (SSUF), arguing that his movement was the only means through which he would work with compatriots to “arrest the carnage” in the war-torn country.
“Our movement is a just an urgent call to our compatriots and a struggle to first arrest the carnage that has befell our country and secondly to steer us towards democracy and development, which are the cornerstones of nationhood, an African nationhood of democracy, development, equal citizenry, justice and freedom”, he said in a statement publicly unveiled on Monday.
He accused Kiir of building a nation where total impunity is the order.
“Our movement seeks to reverse this. We must build our nationhood around strong institutions and not strongmen. Strong institutions will outlive all of us and guarantee the prosperity of our nation. This is what we yearn for in our country”, further stressed the statement.
But the chairman of the JCE, Ambrose Riiny Thiik said it was unwise for Malong to rebel.
“It was this council that was securing and bridging the reconciliation process between Kiir and Malong until he was released on medical ground to Kenya though rumours emerged to the contrary about his secret visit to Sudan last month,” Thiik told Sudan Tribune Friday.
He said the council would still negotiate between Kiir and Malong.
“The council of elders is studying the circumstances leading to the formation of the new opposition by General Paul Malong Awan because there were already discussions between him and the president which we led. This questioned the council and brought dissatisfaction among the members of why Malong disvalued the council and moved on with his contrary decision,” stressed Thiik.
Malong said his new rebel group would strive towards fighting what he described as “systemic corruption, stop the ongoing carnage, steer the country toward democracy, justice, equality and freedom.”
South Sudan’s information minister, Michael Makuei said Malong was at “the top of corruption” and that he was the one responsible for all the atrocities the army committed in the course of the civil war.
He, however, admitted that pro-government could have committed numerous atrocities as they pursued Machar who attempted to take over power from the incumbent President Salva Kiir.
Relations between Malong and President Kiir deteriorated after the former was sacked from his post as army chief of staff in May 2017 and placed under house arrest for fear he would start a rebellion.
The ex-army chief was freed in November following mediation led by members of the JCE. The agreement refrained him from going to his home-town of Aweil in Northern Bahr el-Ghazal state but was allowed to travel to any East Africa country