June 22, 2017 (JUBA) – The former South Sudanese army chief of general staff, General Paul Malong Awan said on Tuesday that he was aware all the ill-treatments being given to those loyal to him were a ploy to provoke reactions.
“I know the intentions. They are looking for reactions but let’s not do it in their way. If we do so, we will have helped them achieve their objectives,” said Awan during a meeting at his residence in Juba with the family members and friends of the arrested presidential guard officer.
However, he did not cite the names of his supporters who were being mistreated and who was mistreating them.
Last May, South Sudan President Salva Kiir relieved, Awan from his position, among unconfirmed reports that the security service suspects him and his close aides of preparing a coup against Kiir.
Observers in Juba say Malong comments hint to the denied request to return to his area of origin in the Bahr el-Ghazal province and the replacement of all the officers who left with him after his sack. Mor’e recently, the security service arrested a presidential guard officer who is seen as one of his supporters.
Last week, first Lt Lual Akeen Akken Akec was arrested by national security services. The cause of his arrest remains speculative. His whereabouts remains unknown to his relatives since his detention.
Relatives and security sources have been providing conflicting information. Relatives have attributed the cause of his arrest to “a well-designed plan aimed at removing him from the presidency and other key strategic and influential positions in the military office, along with those who have a close connection with Gen Awan.”
Brig Gen Jel Mangok Jel and Yel Deng Nguel, two of the officers who left Juba in May with Gen Awan before to be forced to return to Juba, have reportedly been unable to get permissions to travel home to Aweil or travel abroad to visit their children at school in Uganda, despite having made numerous requests.
Major Gen Akec Adim, who was the overall head of the military police, has been sacked from his position during recent command changes made by the new SPLA chief of general staff, Gen. James Ajonga.
Local politicians previously seen loyal to Gen Awan in the states of what was the former Northern Bahr el Ghazal State – before splitting into two separate administrative units through a 2015 presidential establishment order – have also been removed from their positions.
Aweil State Governor, Ranald Ruay Deng, the Speaker of Aweil East, Akoon Diing Angok, Security Advisor, Bona Makuac Mawien and Political Advisor James Jok Lual, all were in the government of Aweil East State have also been removed from their positions.
Other low-level military officers and officials loyal to Awan also appear affected by the changes