South Sudanese presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny says the government paid $5 million to ex-army chief Paul Malong to kill the country’s rebel leader, he failed.
Ateny told reporters in Juba that the failed July 2016 plot to pursue and kill the former first vice president turned rebel leader Riek Machar originated from Malong himself.
“The Central Bank of South Sudan was opened at night and $5 million was released for military operations against Riek Machar,” Ateny said.
“Malong took the money but Riek Machar was not killed. He [Malong] failed to pursue Machar and Riek Machar did not face any difficulty. But he [Malong] took the money,” Ateny said, while accusing the former military chief of massive corruption, barely one day after he officially declared himself a rebel.
Machar, currently under detention in South Africa revealed in a series of interviews after the resumption of hostilities that South Sudan army had intended to kill him.
The rebel leader, his wife Angelina Teny were saved by UN peacekeeping mission in Congo.
Malong announced on Monday he had formed an organization to challenge President Salva Kiir, accusing him of looting the country’s resources and turning it into a failed state.
He was sacked early last year amid resignations by some generals who alleged abuses by the military and tribal bias in the army ranks. Since November he has been in exile in Kenya where he was allowed to travel after months of tension between him and his guards and Kiir’s government.
Malong said in a statement that his new organization called South Sudan-United Front (SS-UF) was “a struggle to … arrest the carnage” and steer the nation back to democracy.
South Sudan plunged into a civil war in 2013 after a political disagreement between Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar, degenerated into a military confrontation.