South Sudan: Kiir Persuading Rebel Leader Paul Malong to Abandon Rebellion

South Sudan President Salva Kiir in talks with former army chief of staff, General Paul Malong Awan as part of efforts to persuade him to abandon rebellion, a source disclosed on Wednesday.

President Kiir fell out with Malong in 2017, after the latter was accused of plotting to overthrow the South Sudanese leader, allegations he vehemently denied.

Malong leads South Sudan United Front (SSUF), a Kenya-based rebel movement.

SSUF is currently a member of South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA), a coalition of holdout opposition groups in talks with the South Sudanese government though the Community of Sant’Egidio based in Rome, Italy.

According to sources, Kiir and Malong are in constant talks through family members, adding both expressed willingness to reconcile with each other.

“His Excellency the president is a man of peace and he wants the country to be in complete harmony before the end of the transitional period.   Because of this, he accepted the initiative of the elders and eminent personalities to negotiate a reconciliation with Paul Malong. This is what is happening. Paul Malong is also ready. Now his house is being prepared. It has been furnished and people are still working on it while the talks are continuing. Once what he wants to be completed in the house are completed, he will return to the country”, the source said Tuesday.

Last week, a source at the presidency told Sudan Tribune that president Kiir had directed his chief security to accept dialogue with him in order to conclude the talks that would pave way for Malong’s return to the country.

Analysts say Kiir is seeking to consolidate his position within the Dinka-dominated constituencies ahead of elections before the end of the transitional period.

Currently, the Interim Secretary-General of the ruling Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM), Peter Lam Both is visiting four states in the Bahr el Ghazal region and Abyei Administrative Area as part of efforts to reorganize the party’s structures.

Report by: Sudan Tribune

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