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South Sudan ex-army chief of staff renews commitment to peaceful dialogue

December 30, 2017 (KAMPALA) - The former chief of army staff, Paul Malong Awan, has renewed his commitment to remaining loyal to President Salva Kiir, his government and the people of South Sudan, saying a peaceful dialogue was the only way to end the conflict in the country.

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Former South Sudan army chief of staff, General Paul Malong Awan speaks at the presidential palace in Juba, November 16, 2017 (ST)

Recently, Awan relatives claimed that the former rebel and Malong’s rival General Dao Auterjong who has been appointed recently commander of the SPLA infantry division in the Greater Bahr el Ghazal region had ordered a weapons search operation in his house in Malualkhon of Aweil region on Friday.

Awan, talking in thanksgiving prayers in Kampala, assured the people of South Sudan and Aweil community that war was not one of the things he was pursuing as a way to addressing his grievances with the government.

“In this thanksgiving prayer services, some people are following us. They want to know what we are doing. What I want to say is that our main focus now is a peaceful dialogue," Awan said.

"We are asking people to stay together and continue. This is our country and we cannot destroy. If there are issues, we need to sit down and talk. If there are people who are doing which are uniting people, we tell them,” he added.

The former chief of staff is in Uganda visiting his family and will return to Kenya to continue with his treatment and then return to South Sudan when the authorities approved his return, he said.

President Kiir last November authorised the former army chief of general staff to leave to Nairobi for treatment ending his confinement in Juba since last May.

Awan was relived on 9 May 2017, upon secret security reports claiming he had plans to overthrow Kiir, accusations he has denied. However, President Kiir refused his repeated requests to allow him to travel to his home area in Bahr El-Ghazal where he has supporters.

(ST)