South Sudan: Kiir Sends Top Dinka Elders to Sweet Talk Ex-Army Chief in Nairobi

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South Sudan President Salva Kiir sent two top ethnic Dinka elders to Nairobi to sweet talk ex-army chief Paul Malong to return home, his spokesperson said Friday.

Tension between president Kiir and General Paul Malong–the man who led military campaign against rebels–peeked this week when Juba declared him a rebel, and accused him of being behind a series of attacks last week.

Kiir cited an audio recording obtained by his intelligence agents.

“I know Malong and his voice. Tell him to return to the country if what is being said about him is not true. I give you time to talk to him but not more than two weeks. If he fails, then let me know,” Kiir told Dinka Elders who are mediating between the two men.

Confirming Malong’s meeting with the ‘elders’, Presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny was quoted by Radio Tamazuj saying the former army chief has already rebelled against government.

“Malong has already rebelled against the government, so the recent statement he issued is nothing to us,” he said.

However, Malong blames sycophants for brewing tension between him and President Kiir. In a statement Tuesday, he said the “provocations are created by gooks around the President” whose survival is contingent on a protracted war in order to facilitate their continued control of the state.