South Sudan President Salva Kiir said Sunday his ex-army chief of staff General Paul Malong Awan, whom he released into exile through mediation brokered by elders was now mobilizing for war, citing videotapes in which he was talking to soldiers and officers in the army to cause rebellion and attack towns in Bahr el Ghazal.
“This was what I said no one knows Malong more than me. The way he talked to me in Yirol on phone and the way he talked when he returned from Yirol was a clear proof of the reason he fled. Now listen to this video, hear it and tell me what you should do if you were in my position,” said President Kiir.
The president was talking to some of the Dinka elders who mediated the release of the ex-army chief of staff Gen. Awan following a standoff over presidential orders asking disarmament his guards and return to their units.
South Sudanese leader played a tape recorded with the voice of ex-army chief asking officers in the army to start fighting in Wau and Aweil. One video recorded his voice talking to Major Baak in Wau and asked him to start a fighting immediately to capture Wau airport while another tape featured his voice talking Manut Yel, Kuol Athuai Hal,Chan Garang Lual and several officers who have rebelled from the government in protest of the way Awan was treated after removal.
The recording took place during different dates and time. The communication he had with Lt. Col. Chan Garang Lual took place on 28-12-2017 11:31:04 in Kuda, Equatoria and the other conversation with Manut Yel Lual in Malual-Bai, Aweil East State ccurred on 28-12-2017 18:57:44 .
Kiir relieved Awan on 9 May 2017 after security reports about a coup d’état he was preparing with his supporters across the country. He also stopped the former chief of general staff who was heading to his home area in Bahr el-Ghazal in Yirol after his sack and forced to return to Juba.
But in a statement released from Kenya, Awan strongly denied the purported leaked tape recording conversations he had with junior commanders on the ground to rebel and fight government.
He further accused ‘the enemies of peace’ of being behind this alleged tape.
“I would want to make it clear to the people of South Sudan that the tape is fake and doesn’t bear the slightest authenticity in it. The tape record is a clear imitation of my voice minted by my well-known enemies,” he said.
He further went to point an accusing finger to ‘individuals’ around President Kiir seeking to undermine their relationship “in order to survive in this collapsing economy”.
Awan said he personally purchased a recording machine for the South Sudan security apparatus when he was working there before the independence.
This machine among others “has the ability to record the voice of a victim and this recorded voice can be turned around to cook future voices for the sake of implication,” he added.
Awan described this alleged tape as a new provocation to push him to rebel, adding there were other similar fabricated rumours including that he was in Khartoum to meet opposition figures.
“In light of this constant provocations, I would be forced to make a decision because there is a threat to my life and that of my family,” Gen. Malong Awan warned without elaborating.