July 24, 2014 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese army on Thursday dismissed allegations of emerging differences between its chief of staff, Gen. Paul Malong Awan, and former rebel leader Lt. Gen. Bapiny Monytuil.
- SPLA spokesman Philip Aguer (ST)
“I am not aware of any differences between the chief of general staff, Gen. Paul Malong Awan and Lt. Gen. Bapiny. I don’t know anything about these unfounded allegations, definitely they are baseless rumours,” said army spokesperson Col. Phillip Aguer.
It is unclear what caused the alleged dispute between the top security officers, although reports circulated on various social media forums attributed it to the fighting which erupted last week in Unity state between the government forces and rebel fighters.
Different sources claimed the fight had caused huge losses from both the government forces and rebels, generating blames in which some army officers claimed the government soldiers were misled and ill equipped at the time of the clash.
Fighters, predominantly members of the former rebel group under Monytuil who responded to the 2012 presidential amnesty and now fight alongside pro-government troops, allegedly suffered heavy losses.
However, some of whom were airlifted to the country’s capital, Juba, for better medical care reportedly disappeared along the way, raising anxiety from family members and their commanders.
Their whereabouts were unheard of and in an attempt to find out what happened, Monytuil reportedly approached the army chief of staff, who allegedly threatened to arrest the former if he did not leave his office.
“He left, but on the following day [July 17], Gen. Bapiny attempted to leave for Bentiu, apparently to access the situation of fighters allied to him under the command of Major Gen. Mathews Puljang, but he was blocked from traveling to the area by the national security agents at the airport on the orders of the chief of general staff, directing the government agents to put him under house arrest with immediate effect,” disclosed a military source.
In an exclusive interview with Sudan Tribune, Monytuil described the alleged rift between him and the army chief of staff as “rubbish and nonsense”.
“These are all rubbish and nonsense and I would like to correct these allegations now not tomorrow. First, I want to make it clear that I do not have any differences with the chief of general staff and I have not been arrested,” he said on Thursday.
The former rebel leader further clarified that he did not have any problem with Gordon Buay, a member of other armed groups integration committee.
“I also want to make it clear that I do not have any differences with any of the comrades who came with me. I have been with Gordon Buay and even before you called, he was with me,” said Monytuil.