Sacked South Sudan military chief meets president

Monday May 22 2017

Former South Sudan’s Chief of General Staff

Former South Sudan’s Chief of General Staff Paul Malong Awan. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOSEPH ODUHA in Juba

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has held reconciliation talks with controversial former military chief Paul Malong.

The Presidential Press Secretary, Mr Ateny Wek Ateny, confirmed to the media that the two leaders reconciled last Thursday in Juba after several days' standoff.

Was replaced

“They have accepted to reconcile, and the reconciliation took place in front of all the delegates,” Mr Ateny said.

Gen Malong was replaced by Gen James Ajongo.

Following his removal from office, Gen Malong retreated to Yirol County, Eastern Lakes State, about 280km northwest of Juba.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir. FILE |

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

He only returned to the capital following a request by President Kiir.

The two leaders first met earlier last week but failed to resolve their differences.

“There was no other alternative but for them to get back to normalcy because people were so worried about any possible showdown that could arise,” Mr Ateny told a local radio in Juba.

He said Gen Malong explained to President Kiir why he left Juba after he was relieved of his duties, but without providing details.

Ethnic militia

He also said President Kiir expressed concern about Gen Malong’s health, and wanted him to go for further medical check-up abroad.

Gen Malong has been experiencing persistent high-blood pressure that could put his health at a risk.

The former military boss is one of the President Kiir's close allies, credited with mobilising an ethnic militia known as Mathiang Anyoor in 2014 to fight the Riek Machar-led rebels.