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South Sudan army chief dismisses witchcraft allegations

November 14, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s army chief of staff, Gen. Paul Malong Awan said an incident in which he collapsed last month was not linked to witchcraft.

Former South Sudanese army chief Gen. Paul Malong Awan speaking at a Dinka Malual community meeting in Juba on 1 November, 2012 (ST)

Awan sought medical attention after he fainted and collapsed in front of senior military and police officers at his residence in Jebel, a Juba suburb.

He was rushed to a medical unit at the presidency, admitted and remained under close medical care before being taken outside the country for treatment.

It was not clear what caused the sudden decline in Awan’s health conditions as supporters and family members suspected food poisoning or witchcraft.

The general ruled out allegations that his own friends could have poisoned him.

"Who can poison me? The food we were eating was prepared by own wife, who is not just a wife but a friend”, Awan said at Sunday’s thanks giving organised by his family.

One of the general’s wives, who accompanied him to the hospital claimed the latter was not sick, but had high blood pressure and was admitted for regular health checks.

"I went with him and according to the medical report, he is okay. The only thing they told him is to do regular health checks and try to rest. The doctors say he was exhausted because he overworked himself, which I agree because he sleeps late sometimes," she said, adding, "he really finds no time to rest”.