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TENSION RISES AS 200 HEAVILY ARMED SPLA SOLDIERS SURROUND THE HOUSE OF PAUL MALONG IN JUBA

Juba, 3 Nov.2017: Security agent within South Sudan SPLA who asked for his identity to be concealed due sensitive of the matter confirmed to this reporter that this evening [Friday] at around 5:15 PM local time. The army has deployed tank unit with an estimated number of armed soldiers closely to 200 in the presidential palace also known as J1. J1 was the epicenter of 2016 fighting between forces loyal to the oust former Vice President Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir.

The informant military officer further said upon the deployment, the armed soldiers immediately took cover and moved surround the house of Gen Paul Malong Awan, the former South Sudan's army chief of staff. Gen Paul Malong was closed allied to President Salva Kiir and he was seen as the man behind the execution of thousands of ethnic Nuer on the onset of December 2013 crisis in Juba.

There is no apparent reason given as the why heavily armed soldiers were deployed with tanks to surround the house of ex- army chief. However, there is speculation that the group of army defectors who left Juba early this week are planning to stage forceful attempt to free Paul Malong from his house arrest detention and take him to Northern Bahr El Ghazal.

Gen Malong was relieved from his post in May after rumors of fear that he and his groups were planning to stage unrest in Juba to topple the government of his boss Kiir. Hours after President Kiir sacked him in presidential decree, Gen Malong left Juba with roughly 200 of his bodyguards but his plan to go to his birth place to organize his militias to rebel against Kiir was aborted after series of negotiation with groups of Dinka elders in Yirol Lake state.

J. Roberts Swaka

SSLN

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