A meeting between South Sudan’s powerful former army chief Paul Malong and a delegation comprises mostly of government officials to iron out issues that led to military tensions in Juba since Friday has failed to bear fruit today, a source told Radio Tamazuj this evening.
Juba was tense since Friday as heavily armed government soldiers surrounded the residence of former army chief General Paul Malong Awan in a bid to disarm his bodyguards on orders from President Kiir.
The source said during the meeting General Malong rejected a request made by the government delegation to meet President Kiir personally at J1 in a bid to find amicable solutions to their tensions, adding that Malong cast doubts on any security guarantees.
The meeting today between the government delegation and General Paul Malong has ended in failure, according to the same source.
During the failed talks today, he said, Malong demanded that all government troops deployed around his residence should be withdrawn immediately and that the 30 October presidential order authorising the arrest and disarming of his bodyguards and the removal of any other arms in his possession should be revoked by Kiir.
“Malong demanded that his bodyguards should return to their units but they should be arrested. Also, General Malong said he should be informed about his wrongdoing and the reason for the house arrest,” he said.
The group that met Malong include the presidential envoy, Akot Lual, Angun Diing, head of foreign relations at the SPLM party, Lual Wek, commander of the Presidential Guards, Bol Wek, chief administrator in President Kiir’s office.
The top general, who is now under house arrest in Juba, under terms of the new order issued by Kiir, is not allowed to leave his residence and all his visitors have been banned.
Kiir-Malong phone conversation
Separately, a source close to the presidency revealed that President Kiir made a phone call to General Paul Malong after today’s meetin with the government team failed.
He pointed out that President Kiir had assured Paul Malong that everything will be done carefully. “The president during the telephone conversation has promised to withdraw the troops deployed around Malong’s house,” he said.