South Sudan President, Salva Kiir, says his former army chief of staff, Gen Paul Malong Awan, is currently in a fighting mood despite his commander-in-chief’s efforts to soothe him.
Malong, notorious among security circles, was recently removed from his position and replaced with Gen James Ajongo, a move that created tensions on one hand and jubilation on the other.
With a high blood pressure, Malong is currently huddled up in Yirol planning his next move after fleeing the capital Juba without even handing over his office.
Speaking to press on Friday, President Kiir said the appointment of Gen. James Ajongo as chief of staff replacing Gen. Paul Malong Awan was “a normal thing”.
“It happen that Gen. Paul Malong did not wait to complete all whatever are being done in the changes when they happen….but this last change has made everybody very apprehensive and many circulations are being rumoured around that there is going to be armed confrontation and this you have read in the Facebook, the social media are actually preaching as if they are the masters of the conflicts,” he said.
He added: “They are very good in creating conflict among the people but in our situation today, there has been no violence. Gen. Malong after hearing his release from the army and I told him when I was talking to him I said; Malong you did a mistake.”
He further told Malong that the first thing that he [Malong] could have done was to call Kiir personally to thank him for the period “I have given you to serve the people of South Sudan”.
“Secondly, you have suppose to call Gen. Ajongo and also congratulate him for his new assignment, all that you did not do. You should have gone to the office to hang over the office to him officially as it was hanged over to you by Gen. James Hoth, here you decided to run away without handing over the office to Gen. Ajongo.”
Kiir says despite the high blood pressure, Malong was not in a good mood when the president called him Friday morning.
“Of course Malong is now in Yirol. I did not talk to him this morning. I tried but I found that he was resting because yesterday his blood pressure shot up very high because yesterday when I talked him last, he was not in a good mood,” Kiir told press.
He added: “He [Malong] was in the fighting mood. I tried to calm him down but he was otherwise.”