South Sudan
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Rebel General blasts ousted army chief over recruitment of “blood-thirsty ethnic militias”

SPLA-IO Generals.

Pagak/Juba, May 13, 2017 (SSNA) — A senior military official of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) has harshly criticized the recently sacked South Sudan national army (SPLA) chief of General Staff Paul Malong Awan, saying Awan departure from the helm of the national army will not change anything in the ongoing civil war.

Major General Khor Chuol Giet, the Commander of the SPLA-IO 5th Division, told the South Sudan News Agency that Awan is responsible for recruiting ethnic militias who mercilessly kill civilians with impunity.

“Awan is the one who recruited Mathianganyor militia group. Anyone who knows the story of this bloody-thirsty ethnic militias should not celebrate his [Awan] removal.” Giet said.

Giet also proclaimed that South Sudanese President Kiir is no different from Awan, warning those who think Kiir did a good job for firing Awan are wrong.

“Kiir was fully supportive of Awan’s decision to recruit tribal militiamen,” he asserted.

Awan, who returned to Juba today, was sacked Tuesday. His removal caused panic in Juba as some military factions known to be loyal to him blocked roads leading to his Juba residence.

Awan said today after his arrival that he returned to Juba because Kiir asked him to come back to the capital and suggested he could end up going back to his hometown to be with his family if he is not given a role to play in the government.

However, one senior government official who asked for anonymity because of fear of reprisal told the South Sudan News Agency in Juba that Awan is capable of causing chaos in Juba and even overthrowing Kiir.

“I wonder why Kiir wanted him back after he left Juba. But I understand the fact that the President probably realized how powerful Awan is after he sacked him on TV,” the official said.

The South Sudan News Agency has learned from a reliable source that Kiir will ask Awan to serve in his government, adding, “The post will definitely be a boxed one.”

Pressed to explain what he meant about “boxed one,” the official added, “Awan is now very much hated by almost every senior government official, especially those in the national security and Bilpham.”

“Any position he is assigned to will be intensely monitored,” he continues.

Awan was appointed in April 2014 — more than four months after the civil war broke out.