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S. Sudan withdraws troops from former military chief’s home

November 12, 2017 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese government announced it has withdrawn armed personnel initially deployed to guard the home of former military chief of staff, General Paul Malong.

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Paul Malong arrives at Juba Airport 13 May 2017 (ST Photo)

A spokesperson for South Sudan army said the decision follows the “peaceful” resolution of misunderstandings between government and Malong.

“Armoured Personnel Carriers and security forces initially deployed around the residence of Gen Paul Malong have been withdrawn,” said Lul Ruai Koang, adding “Withdrawal came about after Gen. Paul accepted presidential order on reduction of his bodyguards”.

The government had earlier dismissed as untrue reports that the powerful former army chief of staff has been freed from house arrest.

Malong, a former elected state governor, lost his position as army chief of general staff in May and his movement had to be restricted.

The army spokesperson said the decision to withdraw security forces from the ex-military chief’s home was taken for after a security review reportedly showed the latter posed no security threats to government in particular and residents in general.

He said government will on Monday officially issue a statement on the peaceful resolution of misunderstandings with the ex-army chief.

Last week, however, attempts by government forces to disarm the former army chief’s bodyguards failed, prompting an uprising from some troops loyal to Malong.

But Malong warned of potential bloodshed should government insist on disarming and arresting his guards.

The UN Mission in South Sudan earlier expressed willingness to assist resolve the standoff between the government and the former military chief of staff.