South Sudan says divisive army chief of staff removed

South Sudan says divisive army chief of staff removed

However, the government of Eastern Lakes Minister of information and Communication Abraham Majak Makur confirmed to the press after many hours of discussion with General Malong Awan yesterday said he will return to Juba without proceeding to Awiel.

Last year, a United Nations panel of experts said Malong had directed the July fighting in the capital, Juba, that killed hundreds and caused a surge in violence across the country.

South Sudan's sacked former army chief Paul Malong has left the capital Juba for his home state, says the country's defence minister, raising concerns over his next move as a civil war drags on.

He further said he has never rebelled against the SPLA or the people of South Sudan, and was not about to do that.

Malong was sacked via a presidential decree that was announced on Tuesday on the national television by the President himself.

Malong said he now wants to live a simple life at home on the farm.

The United States later led efforts to have the U.N. Security Council sanctions on Malong for violating the country's peace agreement, but the attempt failed.

Lt. Gen. James Ajongo Mawut has been named to replace Malong, who did not answer repeated attempts for comment.

Separately, gunmen attacked the vice president's convoy on Tuesday and wounded three of his bodyguards, a government official told the Reuters news agency.

South Sudan, the world's youngest nation, erupted into civil war in 2013 after President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired his deputy Riek Machar, a Nuer.

"It is unclear whether Malong's removal will significantly alter the army's behavior for the better, but it is clear that Malong should be investigated for his failure to prevent, stop and punish abuses committed by forces under his command during his tenure", Jonathan Pedneault, a South Sudan researcher at Human Rights Watch, told the AP.

Malong had been accused of directing last year's fighting in the capital, Juba, that left hundreds dead.

The surge of violence just over two years after South Sudan seceded from Sudan has fuelled Africa's biggest cross-border refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

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