Kiir releases South Sudan ex-army chief from house arrest

Sacked South Sudan military chief Paul Malong. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

South Sudan ex-army chief of staff General Paul Malong Awan has been released from house arrest.

President Salva Kiir is said to have agreed to free the embattled powerful general to seek medical treatment within East Africa.

Fearing that Malong could start a rebellion after he sacked him in May, the Kiir administration prevented him from leaving Juba to his hometown in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state.

According to a VOA report, Malong’s wife Lucy Ayak Malek is quoted confirming his release.

This comes just as Malong in a letter to international agencies urged them to prevail upon Kiir to allow him to go to his hometown of Awiel or grant him safe exit to Uganda.

Local media reports say that a group of elders has been mediating the standoff between Malong and Kiir which had heightened after the president last Friday sent troops to the ex-military chief’s house in Juba with orders that he releases a majority of his 30 bodyguards.

The troops have been outside his house since.

"I talked to General Malong this evening [Thursday] and he confirmed that a group of elders came and informed him that he is now free, but there was no any official document signed," Ms Malek, his wife, told VOA.

She said he was however prohibited from going to his native home Awiel.

South Sudan plunged into a brutal civil war nearly four years ago.

-Reported by Joseph Oduha and TEA writer.

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