South Sudan says divisive army chief of staff removed

South Sudan’s army chief of staff, who had been proposed for UN sanctions and accused of directing last year’s fighting in the capital that left hundreds dead, has been removed from his post, a presidential spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Paul Malong’s removal comes after months of government infighting and as ethnic violence in the country’s civil war has dramatically increased. Malong has long been considered a hardliner in the government of President Salva Kiir, and diplomats repeatedly have accused him of undermining the country’s 2015 peace agreement.
Ateny Wek Ateny told The Associated Press that Malong was removed because he had been in charge for over three years. Ateny called that a violation of army rules.
Lieutenant General James Ajongo Mawut has been named to replace Malong, who did not answer repeated attempts for comment.
A statement later read out on state television Tuesday night did not provide a reason for the removal. Government officials sought to downplay it, with army spokesman Santo Domic Chol calling it “routine”.

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