Perhaps people got him wrong. This is after assuming humility which became his outstanding principle in exile following a defection which saw him become a rebel leader.
Dubbed as King Paul, Malong was at the peak of his career in 2014. Gen. Paul Malong Awan was boldly trusted by his village, clan, tribe, soldiers and the incumbent president himself. There was none near him. And he was the lenses through which the president see dangers. He was previously the Northern Bar al Ghazal State governor.
Armed with nearly all modern warfare guns and ammunitions, Malong was very powerful and was in control of a large section of army of the government and soldiers were mostly from his home state Aweil, a place which is said to have been the pillars of South Sudan army battling the SPLA – IO at the time.
Malong soon ascended to limelight where he quickly grabbed global attention. He made headlines and he was being referred to as KING PAUL. He was praised, nursed and he build a short lived pride out of it. Malong fell!
While the war was strongly raging in Upper Nile State (2014), in the heart of Jonglei and some parts of the greater Equatoria, Malong was soon rumoured to be the man to bring the rebellion to an end at once by defeating SPLA-IO forces.
On 23rd of April, 2014, Malong was appointed in a presidential decree as Chief of Staff. The executive order was read on South Sudan Television (SSTV). The the then Chief of Staff Gen. James Hoth who is also the current Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity Minister of Labor, was sacked after serving for six years.
Things soon swelled. A substantial pressure was weighed on Malong. The overall trust of the regime was put on him and he carried the hope of crashing the rebellion on his back. Malong was still strong but at the same time getting weaker.
Malong engaged in several battles with SPLA -IO of which he won and greatly lost some.
On the other side, a man whose path would cross with Malong was masterminding his revenge and campaign at the same time. Malong was tightening his belt. The SPLA -IO’s advance team for the 2016 Addis Ababa Peace Agreement was on its way. The politicians were to arrive first and the roughly 1200 soldiers with counted bullets and guns were to come to Juba as part of the hard won negotiation by the government. This was the beginning of ticking of the timebomb.
Taban Deng was by then sent to Juba by his Boss as the head of the then advance team and he instead over threw his boss. He became the First Vice President instead which marked the born of IO – Taban which was dubbed as “NUER WEW”.
Taban then conspired with Malong and they decided that they should kill the two heads of the war – Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar in a process that they would term as ‘a mistake’
According to their plan, Riek and Kiir would be killed in the cross fire of a dogfight which they allegedly planned and this was the born of J1 – the famous dogfight which made theJ1 road flood with blood of dead soldiers.
Their plan was to take over the power from Kiir where Malong was to be the president and Taban the deputy president but all went up in smoke when the two warlords failed to die.
From the J1 war, Riek and Kiir took shelter and they survived as dozens of soldiers died outside from both sides. The government is said to have incurred the greater loss because of having higher number of soldiers around.
Riek flew to Congo afterwards and Kiir remained in Power. Taban was also comfortable and it all boiled down on Malong’s brain.
After Kiir dug the cause of the J1 fight, he found evidence and the information he fathered was that Malong wanted to overthrow him. Taban was not mentioned because he played out smart.
In May 2017, Malong was sacked and his relations with Kiir massively deteriorated. Malong then defected and left via Lakes State to his hometown Aweil where he declared a new revolution afterwards – South Sudan United Front (SSUF).
(Opinion expressed herein do not belong to Ramciel Broadcasting)