Holdout opposition leader General Paul Malong Awan, the embattled head of South Sudan United Front/Army, has yet again suffered political set back after a group of officers declared their allegiance to Gen. Dickson Gatluak, the former deputy chief of staff who ousted him yesterday.
Gen. Dickson Gatluak on Saturday evening issued a statement, along with a number of senior political and military figures of the rebel movement including the deputy chairman, removing Malong as leader of the group and said he is open for talk with President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s government in order to find a “home-grown” solution for the conflict.
In the six-page statement extended to Sudans Post, the group of senior generals led by Gatluak who is the deputy chief of staff for administration and finance accused Malong of being incompetent to lead the movement and removed him from the leadership of the group before revoking his membership of the movement.
“We [….] have taken over the leadership of the South Sudan United Front/Army (SSUF/A) and agreed enormously to dismiss Gen. Paul Malong Awan from the Movement and opted to embrace the spirit of a homegrown political dialogue with the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGONU), under the leadership of H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit,” the statement reads in part.
“Gen. Paul Malong Awan has demonstrated incompetency and lack of vision. He does not have any clear strategy on how the crisis should be addressed in the Republic of South Sudan. From the onset of joining SSUF/A, we expected the Movement to wage a total war or have a total peace with the regime in Juba, but this has not been the case. Gen. Paul Malong Awan has failed to organize the Movement and the members felt frustrated due to lack of progress,” the statement charged.
In yet another blow to Malong, a group of military and political officers announced their intention to abandon Malong and declared their allegiance to Gatluak who told Sudans Post this afternoon that he is consolidating the leadership of the group.
“We have declared our intention to defect under Gen. Dickson Gatluak,” the group led by Brig. Gen. Abraham Ayual Jok said in the brief statement extended to Sudans Post, adding “Together we can an end the conflict in South Sudan.”