Paul Malong Awan, a South Sudanese politician and military figure, is the man behind the renewed fighting in the capital Juba, according to a former chief negotiator.
Gen Malong has served as governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal since 27 March 2008.
In April 2014, he was appointed Chief of General Staff of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army by the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit.
SPLM-IO Chief Negotiator, Taban Deng Gai, in a joint press conference with Micheal Makuei, the minister of Information over the weekend called on the leadership of the army to immediately ceasefire as per the orders of President Kiir.
Deng was SPLM-IO’s chief negotiator under the leadership of the newly sworn in First Vice-President, Riek Machar, for two years since peace negotiations with President Salva Kiir’s government began in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2014 to end the civil war which erupted on 15 December 2013 in the country.
Deng, a former governor of the oil rich Unity state, was also appointed as minister of mining in the newly sworn in transitional government of national unity per nomination by Machar.
Following an outbreak of clashes that claimed 272 lives on Friday, Deng said General Paul Malong and General Gatwec Dual were behind the resumption of war.
He urged them to immediately cease fighting and listen and abide by the orders of the C-in-C, Salva Kiir Mayardit.
“We are all sons of this country,” Deng pleaded.
Makuei, on the other hand said, the government was in full control of other parts of Juba town -except some cantonment sites of the IO.
He blamed the forces of Riek Machar for what he termed as “unfortunate incident”.
He said that the rebels first attacked the SPLA at Yei-Juba Road checkpoint upon which SPLA responded scattering attackers to UN compound.
Malong warns ‘rogue’ soldiers
The SPLA Chief of General Staff says the General Headquarters is aware of some credible information that an unknown group of armed men and/or individuals have plans to target civilians.
General Paul Malong issued a stern warning to all unit commanders and soldiers to ensure no member of the organized forces is engaged in acts of targeting civilians.
He said extreme measures will be taken against those found to have committed any crime against civilians since clashes begun in Juba.
His statement was read by the SPLA spokesperson, Brigadier Lul Ruai this evening on the National Television, SSBC on Saturday evening.
SPLA denies Gen Lam defection
In a statement on Monday, Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, SPLA Spokesperson, dismissed reports saying Lt. Gen. Charles Lam Chol, Commander of 3rd Sector has defected to SPLA IO.
“SPLA IO’s claims that he had defected is a wishful thinking,” Lul said.
“SPLA IO’s propagandists should stop misinforming the people of South Sudan, region and the international community.”