Ma­long free but un­der close watch

The East African - - FRONT PAGE - By FRED OLUOCH Spe­cial Correspondent

For­mer South Su­dan chief of gen­eral staff Paul Ma­long has been re­leased after five months of house ar­rest, but he is a man un­der close watch lest he start an­other re­bel­lion.

Pres­i­dent Salva Kiir gave the re­lease or­der on Thurs­day evening, after Gen Ma­long, who has been un­der re­stric­tion since his dis­missal in May, wrote a let­ter to the United Na­tions Mission in South Su­dan com­plain­ing about threats to his life and seek­ing refuge.

The Eastafrican has estab­lished that Gen Ma­long is still in his house in Juba, but he is likely to leave for a neigh­bour­ing coun­try.

FOR­MER SOUTH Su­dan chief of gen­eral staff Paul Ma­long has been re­leased after five months of house ar­rest but he is un­der close watch lest he start an­other re­bel­lion.

Pres­i­dent Salva Kiir gave the re­lease or­der last week on Thurs­day evening, after Gen Ma­long, who has been un­der re­stric­tions since his dis­missal in May, wrote a let­ter to the United Na­tions Mission in South Su­dan (Un­miss), com­plain­ing about threats to his life and seek­ing refuge in the camps.

The Eastafrican has estab­lished that Gen Ma­long is still in his house in Juba but he is likely to leave for a neigh­bour­ing coun­try over fear for his se­cu­rity. But sources say that Pres­i­dent Kiir has sent in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers to all the coun­tries in the re­gion Gen Ma­long is likely to go to and they will be mon­i­tor­ing his move­ments.

The South Su­dan per­ma­nent rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the African Union, James Mor­gan, said Gen Ma­long is safer in South Su­dan.

“The pres­i­dent gave no con­di­tions and he can go any­where but the head of state main­tained that his body­guards must go back to their units be­cause the army does not be­long to an in­di­vid­ual,” he said.

Gen Ma­long was put un­der ar­rest be­cause when he was sacked in May and re­placed by Gen James Ajongo Mawut, he left in protest at night with a big con­tin­gent and ar­tillery on his way to his home town of Aweil in Bah-el-ghazal State, but was stopped at Yirol in Lakes State. He was later per­suaded by Pres­i­dent Kiir to re­turn to Juba but was im­me­di­ately put un­der house ar­rest.

On Novem­ber 3, Pres­i­dent Kiir gave an or­der to re­duce Gen Ma­long’s body­guards from 35 to three and the rest were to re­turn to the bar­racks, but the for­mer chief of gen­eral staff re­fused. Gov­ern­ment sol­diers then sur­rounded his house with tanks and ar­moured ve­hi­cles. On Novem­ber 7, Gen Ma­long wrote a let­ter to the head of Un­miss David Shaerer, urg­ing the mission and the In­ter-gov­ern­men­tal Authority on De­vel­op­ment (Igad) to in­ter­vene to avoid blood­shed.

In the let­ter, Gen Ma­long asked that the Juba ad­min­is­tra­tion al­low him safe exit to Uganda and that the sol­diers that went with him to Yirol be re­leased un­con­di­tion­ally.

On Novem­ber 9, Un­miss said it would as­sist in solv­ing the stand­off be­tween the gov­ern­ment and the for­mer mil­i­tary chief. Since the stand­off be­gan, re­tired gen­er­als of the Su­danese Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army have been try­ing to per­suade Gen Ma­long to let his body­guards go with an as­sur­ance that they would talk to Pres­i­dent Kiir to en­sure that he was not harmed.

Pic­ture: File

For­mer South Su­dan chief of gen­eral staff Paul Ma­long.

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