February 8, 2016 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese army (SPLA) chief, Gen. Paul Malong Awan has warned of possible unrest in the world’s youngest nation, should he and those serving the cabinet and army be removed from posts as part of the formation of the Government of National Unity (TGoNU).
“We will see how this country will be stable if the only way is to bring peace is to reward people who have brought the country and the people to this level”, Awan told high-level military officers from his Malual Dinka tribe, whom he ferried to Aweil town for reasons yet to be established.
“We will not accept anyone to be victimised for defending the system”, he added.
The army chief lefts the South Sudan capital, Juba on Saturday with more than five serving army generals from his home area, who included his deputy in-charge of operations, Lt. Gen. James Ajonga Mawut, head of military police, Major Gen. Akec Adim, head of training, Major Gen. Charles Dut Akol and the Division Two commander, Major Gen. Butrous Bol Bol.
Other notable high-ranking officers present were, Lt. General Akot Deng Akot, who until recently, served as caretaker governor the now defunct former Northern Bahr el Ghazal state after he was appointed last year.
Akot replaced Kuel Aguer Kuel who was in a power struggle with Awan.
While in Aweil town, the army chief of staff reportedly held two high profile meetings with state lawmakers, ex-cabinet ministers and members of the ruling party (SPLM) on Saturday and on Sunday at the SPLM headquarters.
He also held other meetings in Warawar village, during which he reportedly declared himself as chairman of the SPLM branch offices in the new states, vowing not to tolerate anybody who undermines the Mading Aweil people.
“As we are meeting here, there are people calling from Juba to ask why we are here. We did not escape; the president knows we have come here and we are here to discuss things which concern us as people of Aweil. And here I want to say that the creation of the new states does not mean division. We are still one. What has happened is just for administrative purpose. It has not affected our unity and our identity. We are still people of Aweil,” told his audience at the SPLM secretariat Sunday.
He added, “If there are people who think the creation of more states has divided us, they need to know this was not the purpose for creating them”.
According to the senior army official, all nominations of officials for various the positions in the three states must pass through the SPLM branch office in Aweil town, further stressing that he remains a legitimate office bearer until future arrangements for the ruling party in the state were made.
“We will meet with the three governors and we shall discuss with them what we have discussed here and anyone who will refuse to listen then we will go to the president and thereafter we shall see who will not work with the people”, said Gen. Awan.