South Sudan Africa News Liberty




Date: 19/01/2023 Has Malong spilled the beans? By Lotole Lo Luri A friend forwarded me a video recording asking me to be patient and watch it to the end. He knew many would not bother being an audience to such a disjointed and chaotic interview. Indeed, watching the whole discussion was exceedingly unrewarding. 

It didn't matter whether General Paul Malong spoke in Arabic or English; incoherence was the denominator of his responses. Malong interrupted his interviewer several times while the latter was in a middle of a question. By doing so, the audience never knew some of the questions nor got the correct answers from the General. 

What the former Chief of General Staff talked about could be summarized in five points. Point number one: he claimed that the Jieng liberated Juba and that he was shot several times during the fight. Hence, the armed pastoralists causing mayhem in Equatoria should not be asked to return to where they came from because they are exercising their rights to settle wherever they want in South Sudan. Malong is a bare-faced liar who has no shame. 

The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) never liberated Juba or posed a significant threat to it during the entire war with the Khartoum government. Indeed, it failed to capture a single big town. Malong often bragged of having sustained 9 to 12 bullet wounds in his body during the numerous operations that he led. The question that begs an answer is; if the enemy could come that close to hitting the commander with that number of bullets, how many of his soldiers must have perished before the enemy could reach him?! An eyewitness told me that Malong once claimed that he defeated a Sudanese government force comprised of 75,000 troops. 

That number is almost double that of the Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF), an army that his boss, President Kiir, had to beg its intervention in 2014 to save his neck and the failed SPLM party government from collapse. 2 All the renowned generals who won game-changing battles have them linked to their names. Examples are General Vo Nguyen Giab, in the battle of Dien Bien Phu, which ended French rule in Vietnam; Lt. General Bernard Montgomery, who won the battle of El-Alamein, General Douglas MacArthur in the liberation of the Philippines; and Field Marshall Georgy Zhukov in the battle of Kursk.


Even General Adnan Khairallah, with whom Malong compared his popularity in the army, had the battle of liberation of the Iraqi town of El-Fao recorded against his name. Of course, it's a colossal demotion to equate General Malong with those great Generals. But I brought the above examples to explain my argument as Malong often portrays himself as the bravest and most brilliant General ever. Malong has no single decisive battle tied to his name.  


He was majorly involved in a hit and ran operations against the Sudanese army while committing atrocities against unarmed civilians, particularly in Equatoria. Boasting about being popular in the army makes little sense. The SSPDF (SPLA previously) is a tribal army in the first place, composed mainly of the Jieng ethnicity. So, no wonder Malong would be popular in such a setting. 

Furthermore, Malong recruited the Mathiang Anyoor militia exclusively from the Jieng ethnicity under President Kiir's orders before the massacre of the Nuer civilians in December 2013.  

Many of his recruits have been merged with the already-known tribal army and security organs. Malong recruits were instrumental in conducting the massacres against the Nuer, the Equatorians, the Chollo, and other communities in South Sudan. Point number two: It's apparent that Malong is trying to drive a wedge between the Equatorians in keeping with the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) policy of divide and rule. 


He has labeled some communities as nationalists while others aren't. Malong's definition of a nationalist individual or community is a person or community serving the Jieng's interests and not the country's interests. How could Malong himself claim to be a nationalist when he was the one who established the Mathiang Anyoor Militia? And where was his "nationalism" when he engaged in the massacre of the Nuer civilians in Juba on 15/12/2013? Point number three: The Jieng have misled the neighboring countries and the international community that they are the "majority tribe" in South Sudan. 


Malong was no different by stating that no one from the "minority tribes" would ever come to power without Jieng's blessings. There's no such thing as a majority tribe in South Sudan. Likewise, there are no minority tribes; we only have large, 3 medium-sized, and small tribes. The Jieng population is at most 25% of the total population of South Sudan. The Jieng are certainly the largest tribe in the country, but that's different from the false claim of being the majority.  


Point number four: The positive part of the interview was that Malong was forthcoming about who was killing citizens in the towns and on the roads. He placed the blame squarely at the doorsteps of the National Security Service (NSS) under General Akol Koor, the Director of Internal Security and covert commander of the so-called "unknown gunmen". Malong also stated that the recent killings of the Dinka Bor cattle were conducted by the NSS, which brings another dimension to the conflict in the Mongalla area. It's also likely that Malong is trying to gain the support of the Dinka Bor militia in his bid for the top office. 


In light of the above, the recent shelling of the Bari villages in the Mongalla area by the SSPDF was an act of state terrorism. Point number Five: As mentioned above, Malong asserts that he is popular in the army, and most of the Jieng are behind him. Throughout the interview, Malong didn't spare a chance to imply that he would be the one to succeed President Salva Kiir in case of any eventualities. At the beginning of the interview, Jonkor, the interviewer, asked Malong about the types of food he liked but failed to ask him about his education and credentials. 


It's unusual to ask someone aspiring to be a President about the food he eats while omitting the crucial questions about his education and qualifications. It was a deliberate omission from Jonkor to spare Malong the embarrassment of answering such questions.  

The "Presidential hopeful" emerged from a humble background with a significant criminal record while living in Khartoum. He worked as a warden in a hospital and never had a formal education. He never joined the military college or studied military sciences. Further, General Malong remains under United Nations Security Council sanctions for war crimes and crimes against humanity.  

Despite the above, he lied again, denying being under any travel ban or restriction. He claims to have forces fighting the regime, but his "forces" are nowhere to be found. He has no political agenda for the country but a self-serving personal agenda. I wouldn't be surprised to see Malong boarding the earliest plane to Juba if President Kiir offers him the position he is badly seeking. 

Author Lotolo lo Luri 

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