South Sudan’s Sacked Head of Army Returns to Nation's Capital

  • Paul Malong was accompanied by bodyguards on flight from Yirol
  • Former army chief persuaded to return by friends, relatives

South Sudan’s former head of the army, Paul Malong, returned to the capital on Saturday, allaying fears that he would take up arms and further intensify the African nation’s three-year civil war.

Paul Malong, right, accompanies South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir in 2015.

Photographer: Jason Patinkin/AP Photo

Malong arrived in Juba accompanied by four bodyguards aboard a chartered plane from Yirol, the capital of Lakes state, presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said by phone from Juba.

“A group of friends and relatives convinced him to return to Juba and he has at last accepted,” Ateny said.

James Ajongo Mawut

Photographer: Bullen Chol/AP Photo

James Ajongo Mawut replaced Malong as head of South Sudan’s army on Tuesday. The civil war that began in December 2013 with splits in the ruling party and army has left tens of thousands of people dead, forced more than 3.5 million to flee their homes and prompted the world’s first official declaration of famine in six years.

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