November 23, 2015 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s former army chief of staff, General Paul Malong Awan on Thursday claimed he was not denied a visa to Sudan, insisting he did not even apply for the travel permit.
- Former South Sudan army chief of staff, General Paul Malong Awan speaks at the presidential palace in Juba, November 16, 2017 (ST)
Awan, a family member told Sudan Tribune Wednesday, was to attend a meeting in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum on Tuesday but could not travel after he was not cleared by the Sudanese embassy in Nairobi, Kenya and the meeting was pushed to a future date.
But Awan said he could not have apply for a Sudanese visa without a passport.
“That is not true. It is untrue. I was not denied [a visa] by the Sudanese embassy. How can one be denied what he did not ask [for]?” asked Awan, when contacted by phone on Thursday.
The former chief of staff said he flew to Nairobi using a travel permit as he was unable at time to change his current passport, which contains details of his previous assignment, due to technical issues with the passport production machine at immigration department.
Awan, a former state governor, also denied reports that he held private meetings with political dissidents and foreign mercenaries in Nairobi, Kenya, insisting he never had time since his arrival from Juba.
Multiple sources told Sudan Tribune that the ex-army chief had attempted to travel out of Kenya, but could not succeed because the period during which he was to travel to Khartoum elapsed without securing visa approval from Sudan’s embassy.
“The information we have obtained from our intelligence is that the travel was a pre-arranged, well-coordinated and well-planned ahead of the arrival of Paul Malong to Nairobi. The information we have is that he was to attend a meeting organized by a section of Sudanese out of the knowledge of the government,” disclosed a source at the Sudanese embassy with knowledge on the matter.
He added, “That was why the information we have, he [Awan] was unable to state clearly the reason for visit on visa application form”.
Other sources from South Sudan’s presidency as well as the foreign affairs and international cooperation ministry, said they received similar information from intelligence and government officials in Kenya of the activities the former chief of staff were engaged in.
“Gen Paul Malong should appreciate the steps, goodwill, gesture and action taken by his Excellency the president of the republic. he was release to go out of love for peace, tranquility and if he does not appreciate and reciprocate instead he decided to continue to engage in treacherous and subversive activities , then he will get what he wants. And nobody be should be blamed but himself and those pushing him to do those things he is doing now”, a presidential aide further told Sudan Tribune in separate interview on Thursday.
According to the aide, who preferred anonymity, South Sudan’s chief of the defence forces, General James Ajonga Mawut, the commander of presidential guard division Major General Lual Wek and former Gogrial state governor, Gregory Deng Kuac travelled to Nairobi to advise the former chief of staff to “relax” and “avoid” political activities, but it appears the latter ignored the advice given.
Awan recently arrived in the Kenyan capital for medical examinations, a matter that he long time asked for to avoid confinement in Juba after his sacking in May 2017.
Until now, however, the motives and the circumstances under which the former chief of staff sought the visa and its rejection by the Sudanese embassy remains unclear