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South Sudan president replaces army chief

South Sudan

<p>The president of South Sudan has replaced army chief Paul Malong, the defense minister said on Tuesday, after a slew of resignations by senior generals alleging ethnic bias and war crimes.</p> <p>President Salva Kiir has appointed General James Ajong as the new army chief, said Minister of Defence Kuol Manyang Juuk. He downplayed the significance of Malong’s removal, calling it “just a normal practice of changing somebody and bringing another person.”</p> <p>Malong was told one month ago that he would be relieved, Juuk told Reuters. He did not know if Malong, a former elected civilian governor, had been given a new appointment.</p> <p>Juuk said the change would not affect the military’s fight against rebel groups. “The operation will go on,” he said.</p> <p>South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, has been mired in civil war since 2013 when Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired his deputy, Riek Machar, a Nuer.</p> <p>The move triggered a conflict that has plunged parts of the oil producing country into famine, paralyzed public services and forced 3 million people – a quarter of the population – to flee their homes. The United Nations has said the violence amounts to ethnic cleansing and risks setting the stage for genocide.</p> <p>In February, the head of logistics, Thomas Cirillo Swaka, resigned, citing rampant human rights abuses by the military and the dominance of the president’s Dinka ethnic group. His announcement brought a wave of other resignations by generals and civil servants who made similar accusations against the government.</p> <p><strong><em>Reuters</em></strong></p>
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