By Deng Machol
Juba – The office of the president Salva Kiir has revealed that it had paid former army chief, turned rebel $5 million as part of a plot to pursue and kill the country’s opposition leader Riek Machar in the bush following fighting in July 2016.
This was revealed by the presidential press secretary Ateny Wek Ateny, on Tuesday in Juba while reacted to ex-military chief Paul Malong move, launched his new organization to challenge president Kiir, allegedly accuse Kiir of corruption.
Something Ateny said were “mockery to logic, further accused Malong of corruption, impunity and mismanagement of public funds in his serving’s years in President Kiir’s administration.
Malong’s rebellion comes amid “what is already a boiling situation in the restive country, something observers said [it] add “fuel to fire.”
He said the government paid Malong’s $5 million to pursue and kill Dr. Machar, but planned fail as ex- military chief took away a cash for his personal use.
Ateny said $5 million was paid for military operations to destroyed Dr. Machar, adding the Bank of South Sudan’s vaults were opened in the dead hours of the night for Malong to took money
“As chief of general staff of the SPLA for 3 years, General Malong in an attempt to conceal impunity, squandered millions of dollars in disguise for security operations. Banks were opened at night to allow General Malong to take the money at will.” Which was intended to paralyze the government face of international community while the political crisis rise it on,” Ateny told the press.
Malong, Dinka-ethnic was appointed in earlier 2014, replaced James Hoth, Nuer-ethnic commander, in the aftermath of 2013 fighting, but sacked in May last year amid resignations by some generals who alleged abuses by the military and tribal bias in the army ranks. Since November he has been in exile in Kenya to seek medical attention.
Prior to this, General Paul Malong was put under house arrest for about 5 months of tension between him and his guards and Kiir’s government, what the authorities described as a misunderstanding with the government.
“Malong took the money but Riek Machar was not killed. He failed to pursue Machar and Riek Machar did not face any difficulty. But he took the money,” he in a bid to discredit Malong.
Malong’s insurgent group, the South Sudan United Front, on Monday decried “systematic corruption which has devastated the lives of all citizens on a daily basis.”
Ex – military chief pointing out that the government has “zero tolerance for the rule of law, accused the Kiir-led government of nepotism, impunity, and plundering.
“Salva Kiir….concentrated all his efforts, with the help of a small clique around him, to quite literally loot the coffers of our great nation to total bankruptcy,” Malong said in the press release.
“General Malong spoke of impunity, corruption and ineptness of Kiir administration. The Americans have sanctioned him for being the most corrupt and the breeder of impunity and many example prove the point,” Ateny continued.
South Sudan’s rebel chief, Riek Machar, had revealed in his interviews with various media outlets in South Africa that Kiir’s forces had used different airplanes to locate and kill him as they pursued him for more than a month from Juba to the Congolese border.
The UN peacekeeping mission in Congo extracted Riek Machar, his wife and 10 others from an area close to the border with South Sudan after surviving in the bush in Western Equatoria for nearly a month.
Reports indicated that Machar suffered from swollen legs after weeks of walking in the bush amid attacks by government troops.
Meanwhile the government says Malong should join the talks with an intent to resolve the conflict amicably.
But the March 2018 corruption report by the US-based Enough Project mentioned families of both leaders – Kiir and Malong – as some of the profiteers of the 5-year non-international armed conflict.
Malong, who moved to neighboring Kenya after his dismissal, was among three current or former South Sudanese officials sanctioned by the U.S. in September for their alleged roles in destabilizing the country. The army he controlled has been repeatedly accused by the United Nations of atrocities including the rape and killings of civilians.
Malong, who led President Salva Kiir’s forces before being fired last year, adds yet another armed group to a conflict that’s claimed tens of thousands of lives, has been marked by widespread atrocities and caused Africa’s largest refugee crisis since it erupted in December 2013.