By Gen. Paul Malong Awan Anei
January 9, 2018, Ever since I was relieved of duty as Chief of General Staff, there has been a target painted on my back by elements within the government who profit from war. In the aftermath of my being reassigned, these schemers immediately smelt blood. They quickly concocted and circulated rumors about me starting a rebellion, and quickly brought in the president. That is why when I attempted to leave Juba for Aweil, I was intercepted at Yirol with the promise to “clear any misunderstandings that may be there with the president.” I later learnt, as you all did, that it was a trap that landed me into secret house arrest. When my illegal and secretive detention came to light, the schemers shifted their intentions and now they had to “get rid of me”. That is why they cordoned off my residence and surrounded it with a battalion of soldiers, and heightened tensions around Juba in the runner-up to my release on the President’s orders. The schemers in J1 were desperately pulling every trick in their bags to paint me as a serious threat to the government, with the hope of securing a Presidential order to attack and kill me.
When that failed, and after my release, the scheming has only continued. On numerous occasions, they have bribed, coerced people to fabricate rumors implicating me, but thankfully all their schemes have been exposed to this point. The latest was a fabrication of my voice in audio recordings making rounds all over social media. My question is if government, or security agencies get information that I was engaged in subversive activities, their first step is to publish that information in the newspapers and on social media?. From the information I get, the various falsehoods are ghost-written by people well known for their schemes, widely circulate them on social media, and then turn around to convince the President that am a rebel, with “evidence” from the media. If our country wasn’t in this dire situation, I would say this is laughable.
Since my release, there have been numerous provocative actions against me, many of which have not come to the public knowledge, many people perceived to be my supporters have been killed in cold blood, many more have been arrested and detained without charge, my home has been invaded and ransacked on several occasions, I have been attacked and falsely accused baselessly without any evidence whatsoever, linking me to any subversive activity. And in all this while I ask myself, “WHY IS THE GOVERNMENT SO BENT ON MAKING ME A REBEL?”. I say government because yesterday (8th January 2018), the President’s spokesman Mr. Ateny, the same man who openly and shamelessly lied about my house arrest, came out and issued a press statement declaring that I had started a rebellion against government. It is my understanding that the President’s spokesman speaks for the President and as such whatever he says must have been endorsed by his Excellency. And on that note, at long last I think the war profiteers have finally succeeded in convincing the President that I was a rebel. My question now is, what is the end game in this entire scheme?
It is important for the people of South Sudan to understand the reason behind the numerous government provocations against me and my sympathizers. Since I was relieved from my position as SPLA Chief of General Staff, there has been intimidations, provocations, arrests and murdering of people perceived to be my supporters. The war profiteers in government are cowered by the prospect of peace coming to our country, they have to look for ways to create more wars to sustain their stay in power. And they figured who to use as an excuse than Gen. Malong, the man who has a reputation for long-term service to the nation, and who supposedly has a big loyal following. And since I had been relieved of duty, they decided in was to be their punching bag.
For years, the stability of the Aweil community as peace loving people is envied by cronies around the President and they have to create instability in Aweil as a way to massacre them. We are aware of this plot against our people. To create instability and sow seeds of discord between Aweil people and by extension the whole of Bahr El Ghazal, I have to be provoked into rebellion so that can government use that as a pretext to destroy Aweil community. In order to understand this context, President Salva Kiir relieved Gen. Deng Wol from being the commander of Division three and replaced him with Gen. Dau Aturjong Nyuol, a man I have differed with politically. This is a clear divide and rule policy. It was hoped that this would bring confrontation between my loyalists and those of Gen. Dau Aturjong Nyuol consequently creating war in greater Aweil.
All these provocations are created by gooks around the President whose survival is contingent on protracted war in order to facilitate their continued control of the state. The people of South Sudan should be vigilant and be wary of these destructive yobs. It’s an open secret that most of the Presidential advisors were our adversaries during the liberation war, and are there to destroy SPLM from within. They have finally succeeded in doing just that. The unauthentic leaked audio is hoped to be the last straw that breaks the camel’s back. Instead of bringing back peace, the government is busy creating more frontlines. If this provocations continue unabated, then I would respond with appropriate and proportional force, and the blame would be on the government.
The writer is the Former SPLA Chief of General Staff (2013 – 2017)