Breaking News: Sudan denies visa to Paul Malong

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November 22, 2017 (NAIROBI) – The Sudanese embassy in Nairobi has declined to grant a visa to former chief of staff of South Sudanese army, Gen Paul Malong Awan, Sudan Tribune has learnt on Wednesday.

Awan recently arrived in the Kenyan capital for medical examinations, a matter that he long time asked for to avoid confinement in Juba after his sack on 9 May 2017.

The motives and the circumstances under which the former chief of staff sought the visa and its rejection by the Sudanese embassy remains unclear.

Awan’s family member told Sudan Tribune that the former chief of staff had planned to travel out of Nairobi on Tuesday, barely three days after he was allowed by President Salva Kiir through an initiative brokered by the Church and prominent elders following weeks of heightened tensions and standoff in Juba over his guards

He left Juba after reconciliation with President Kiir in a function attended by several government officials. The reconciliation paved the way for his travel outside the country following a rejection of his repeated requests to go to his home village in Northern Bahr el Ghazal region.

A source familiar with the plan for visa said Awan gave incoherent information when asked by the Sudanese embassy to state reasons for his visit to Khartoum.

“I actually don’t know the reason why the Sudanese embassy did not approve his visa. What I know is that he was due to attend a meeting in Khartoum today (Wednesday). This was what he told me. Now this meeting has been postponed because he was the one going to chair it,” said the source.

“I don’t know the objective but I could only hear him telling the people to whom he was speaking by telephone to go ahead but the people told him that they would postpone the meeting and they will go find out the cause for denying him the visa from Sudanese authorities,” he said.

Several sources in the past disclosed the existence of security reports accusing Awan of plotting to overthrow his friend Salva Kiir. However, the latter resisted first recommendations to take action against him. He finally decided to sack him. Also, he cleared the army and the different state structures from his supporters.

A security official at the South Sudanese embassy in Nairobi told Sudan Tribune separately that they have been noticed increased and unusual activities and meetings with foreign mercenaries and political dissidents since the arrival of Paul Malong from Juba.

“We have been closely monitoring his movements and activities. We alerted our office in Juba about these unusual activities being carried by the former chief of staff. We thought he was released to come for medical checks and family visit but now it is becoming something else. he is involved in a mobilization type of activities. We have brought this to the attention of the Kenyan authorities and they have agreed to work with us”, said the security official.

Unconfirmed reports say Awan’s activities are parts of a strategy aimed at bringing Juba to return him into the government as he feels uncomfortable with staying without assignment that would protect him from being accused and dragged to court for the role he played in the ongoing conflict, particularly the recruitment of the government militia which targeted ethnic Nuer when conflict erupted in 2013 in Juba.

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