South Sudan: President says ousted army chief “in a fighting mood”
South Sudan President Salva Kiir said on Friday that sacked army chief Paul Malong was ” in a fighting mood” when he last spoke to the military official.
Malong was fired by the president last week, prompting fears that ethnic tensions could further escalate int he conflict-ridden country. President Kiir claimed the army chief disobeyed orders to return to Juba and hand over his position to replacement, General James Ajongo.
Salva Kiir sacked Malong last week, without giving any reason for the decision. His dismissal comes after several senior military officials resigned in recent months, accusing the army of rights abuses and ethnic bias.
Thomas Cirillo Swaka – one of the officials to recently quit – has since announced the formation of his own rebel group he claims is capable of overthrowing Kiir’s regime.
Speaking to the press on Friday, President Kiir suggested Malong could also be the source of added tension in South Sudan.
“When I talked to him last, he was not in a good mood,” the president told reporters. “He was in a fighting mood,” he added. “I tried to calm him down, but he was rather wild.”
Malong ‘not planning to rebel’
The president’s comments follow statements from various sourcing insisting Paul Malong has no intentions of starting a rebellion.
Last week, SPLA spokesman Santo Domic told Radio Tamazuj that Malong left Juba to avoid such causing further tensions.
“Paul Malong has gone to Eastern Lakes to avoid further tensions,” he said. “He is not planning to rebel, but people just want to cause problems.”
Malong also moved to dismiss fears that he could stoke tensions in the capital.
“Whatever has been said, there is no reality, because if I wanted to have a problem that problem should be in Juba,” he told Radio Miraya FM, a United Nations radio station, on Wednesday.
Featured image: By Al Jazeera English – Kiir awaits, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17499385