South Sudan President, Salva Kiir

South Sudanese president Salva Kiir, has approved a request by the chief of general staff of South Sudanese army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), General Paul Malong Awan, to make a reshuffle in the top command of the army.

President Kiir, according to a circular given to all units, approved the changes sought by the chief of general staff to swap his deputies.

SPLA Chief of General Staff Paul Malong Awan
SPLA Chief of General Staff Paul Malong Awan

Awan, according to an administrative order, appointed Lieutenant General James Ajonga Mawut Ajonga as the deputy chief of general staff for administration and finance. General Ajonga replaced Lieutenant General Malual Ayom, who has been moved by the same order to the directorate of inspection.

Lieutenant General Thomas Cirillo Swaka has been moved from the directorate of training and appointed head of the directorate responsible for procurement and logistics management.

He replaced Lieutenant General Malek Reuben, who has been the head of directorate for training. Lieutenant General Mangar Buong was named the head of operations and Lieutenant General Bapiny Monytuil retained his previous assignment as the head of the directorate responsible for chief of general staff for moral and orientation.

No explanations for changes were made public. Several military figures attributed the cause of the administrative changes to a simmering friction between chief of general staff and some of his deputies over the manner in which he has been running the affairs of the army.

General Awan has registered interest in wanting to assemble a team of military officers loyal to him and for a very long time sought the approval of president Kiir, who is the commander in chief.