South Sudan President Salva Kiir has denied arresting Paul Malong Awan, former Chief of General Staff of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army whom he ousted out of office last May.
President Kiir, according to Daniel Awet Akot, his adviser on military affairs and a leading member of the political bureau of the governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), has not arrested General Malong, a former ally who played a key role in the conflict which erupted in 2013.
“There have been reports and people calling me to inquire whether Paul Malong has been arrested and my answers were no, I am not aware. When these calls persisted, I decided to ask the President and he told me no, he had not ordered any arrest for Malong,” Awet Akot said.
“The President also told me he did not receive any report about his health. If he was sick, the President would have been informed. There are people with him,” he added.
But while Akot denied the arrest of Awan, Lucy Ayak, Gen. Paul Malong Awan’s wife called President Salva Kiir to allow him (Malong) to travel out of the country for a medical attention, saying she was concerned about the health of her husband.
“The last time I spoke to you Mr President, you promised me that my husband would not be harmed, and I took you at your word because I believed that you are a man that stands by your words Mr President. But I should bring to your attention the fact that my husband is not currently in good health, as I am also sure that you well know. He has been having routine checkups and treatment both in Juba and Nairobi over the time he has been working under your command,” wrote Ayak.
She said the condition under which her husband was being held and the tension surrounding the house was becoming a cause of concern to the family. She further underscored that he has no access to his doctors or any other medical personnel.
“I, therefore, appeal to your usual humanity and sense of correctness your Excellency, please allow my husband to seek the medical help he urgently needs because it is the right thing to do to him and the family at the moment,” she called.
The South Sudanese security services kept briefing President Kiir that Malong has been working to evict him and take the lead of the leadership of the country. His role in the military confrontation in Juba in July 2016 and the initiatives he had taken however convinced many in the country that he had no consideration for his hierarchy.
After his removal, the General Malong denied intention to rebel against the government.
In a speech delivered at a public rally held in Yirol town, Eastern Lakes State, where he suspended his travel to his home region of Aweil, he asserted that all that had been said against him were just rumours and that he only wants peace to prevail in the country.