S. Sudanese authorities crackdown on allies of ex-army chief

April 16, 2018 (AWEIL) – Authorities in South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal state arrested dozens of former army chief of staff, General Paul Malong Awan’s allies in the latest move to suppress his activities.

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Former South Sudan army chief of staff, Gen Paul Malong Awan (Juba24 News)

Those arrested on Sunday, sources told Sudan Tribune, included the state assembly speaker, Deng Ayom as well as five other lawmakers.

The commander of South Sudan Patriotic Movement (SSPM), a rebel movement in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, Santino Manut, said those arrested are Awan’s allies believed to be part of his rebellion.

He said Anguet Anei Ajuong, a woman MP, is among the arrested lawmakers.

Others are Aweil Urban MP, Santino Mayuat Ngong, former minister of water resources and irrigation, Bakheit Garang, former county commissioner of Aweil West Garang Kuach Ariath, and the state secretary general and former Aweil town mayor, Simon Tong Deng.

The commander of the army third division headquarters in the state, General Dau Aturjong allegedly carried out these arbitrary arrests.

Last week, Awan 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.

He accused President Salve Kiir of building a nation where total impunity is the order.

Relations between Awan 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.