Malong fires renegade generals over ‘coup’

By William Madouk Garang 

The leader of South Sudan United Front/Army [SSUF/A], Gen Paul Malong Awan has kicked out renegade generals who ousted him from helm of the movement in a weekend coup attempt.

It all started when a group of 13 generals and senior members of SSUFA/A, dubbed as ‘Nairobi Declaration’ on Saturday announced that Gen. Malong has been removed as the leader of the SSUF/A movement.

Led by Maj. Gen. Dickson Gatluak Nyoat, the party’s Deputy Chairman and a proclaimed chairman of SSUF/A, said they overthrew Malong because of his incompetence and lack of vision for the party.

“He does not have any clear strategy on how the crisis should be addressed in the Republic of South Sudan” the group said in a statement seen by No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper.

The group said they will seek a dialogue with President Salva Kiir’s administration in order to reach a peaceful resolution of their differences.

“We, the undersigned leaders and members of the …(SSUF/A) – Nairobi Declaration, would like to seize this golden opportunity to apprise the public, predominantly South Sudanese at large, that from today 28th January, 2023 henceforth, we have taken over the leadership of the South Sudan United Front/Army (SS-UF/A) and agreed enormously to dismiss General Paul Malong Awan from the movement, and opted to embrace the spirit of homegrown political dialogue with the Revitalized Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) under the leadership of H.E President Salva Kiir Mayardit” they said in 5 page statement.

In rebuttal, Gen. Malong terminated five of the members behind his expulsion and blame them of ‘betrayal and conspiracy to weaken the party’.

“With your approach to entry into negotiations with Juba regime is betrayal and conspiracy from you to weaken SSUF/A and as a futile attempt to undermine the leadership which prompted this end to take this decision” Malong said in a statement.

“In light of this gross misconduct, that I, General Paul Malong Awan, commander in chief and chairman of the South Sudan United Front/Army (SSUF/A) duly informed by these facts, ordered the above cited members from the ranks and files of the SSUF/A according to article 20.7 of the [party’s] constitution” he added.

In 2018, Gen. Malong formed the SSUF/A after breaking ranks with President Salva Kiir after he was relieved as Chief of General Staff.

The senior military officers who supported the removal of Malong include the group’s deputy chair and commander in chief, General James Ruai Dual, Brig. Gen. Buay Khan Dong and chief of security for the Greater Upper Nile region.

Others in the list included the secretary of agriculture of the rebel movement and the group’s military spokesperson Col. Philip Deng Kuol.

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