South Sudan President Salva Kiir has pardoned all soldiers and senior army officers who ran away from Juba together with ousted army chief Paul Malong last week, Kiir’s spokesman announced.
General Paul Malong withdrew with his security guards and some senior military officers to outside of Juba after being removed on Tuesday heading for his home state of Aweil, but he was persuaded by government officials and Dinka community leaders in Yirol town to return to Juba after security assurance from Kiir.
“The fear for generals, brigadiers, two lieutenant canals and captain as well as the soldiers who left with Malong to Bahr al Ghazal, the president said that those who left with Gen. Paul Malong, those who left with him, they are now pardoned,” said Ateny Wek.
Ateny pointed out that the soldiers and senior military officers who left Juba together with Gen. Paul Malong would have been punished because they left without permission, but President Kiir decided to pardon them.
He pointed out that President Kiir also accepted to convene a face-to-face meeting with Paul Malong in the presence of mediators.
Malong returned to Juba on Monday, bringing an end to speculation that he might rebel against Kiir administration.
General Paul Malong Awan withdrew with his security guards to outside of Juba on Tuesday heading for his home state of Aweil, but he was persuaded by government officials and Dinka traditional leaders in Yirol town to return to Juba after security assurance from Kiir.
Malong was accompanied by two governors of Gogrial and Eastern Lakes States.
He was received at Juba International Airport by a crowd of his supporters cheering King Paul, King Paul.
The former SPLA chief said in a statement that he was not planning to fight the government.
“I left this capital with no any ill-intentions. The intention was just in my heart to leave towards my home area, avoiding some matters that might occur if I am around,” said Malong.
“If I want to rebel, I will rebel here and I was having guns here and these soldiers do not belong to anybody. Some belong to you and some belong to me, if I was planning to fight, I would have fought here,” he added.
“I was asked to come back and I have come back to come and listen why I am needed here.”
However, Malong insisted that he will travel to Aweil after talks with the country’s leadership. “I will again ask them (government) to go back to my family, home area, because it is my choice. I want to go and stay at home not for any intention. I am somebody who having a strong family, I want to live with my family if I am not asked to do anything for the nation, I should do something for myself,” he said.
Malong urged the people of South Sudan to remain calm, saying there is no any reason for panic across the country.
Malong was immediately entered into an armoured vehicle shortly after his statement and driven away to his official residence near the presidential palace.
Source: Radio Tamazuj