Who is Gen. “King Paul” Malong Awan Anei?

Posted: April 16, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan, People

By Lual Akeen Akeen, Nairobi, Kenya

April 15, 2018 (SSB) — Lieutenant General, Dr. Paul Malong Awan Anei was born the early 1960s in Aweil’s township of Warawar. He is a South Sudanese politician, businessman and one of East Africa most powerful military figure. Malong who had formerly served as governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal (now divided into three states) from 27 March 2008 to 2014 was called upon by the Incumbent president, General Salva Kiir Kuethpiny Mayar to fight against Dr. Riek’s 2013 rebellion. He served as chief of General Staff from 24 April 2014 – 9 May 2017 when the president sacked him and detained him in the nation’s capital Juba where he, Malong, has obediently been questioning the illegal action of the president to date.

Early life and education

Paul Malong was born in Warawar to Aluat (mother) and Awan Anei (father). His father was a paramount chief who governed his kinsmen in the Wun-Anei section of Abiem, situated in current Aweil East State. At eight years old, Malong lost his father when his father was killed by a member of his community. The family is survived by four children. Malong’s older siblings are deceased. In the order of their birth (excluding the deceased), the children of Awandit’s first wife, who is also Malong’s mother, are Agot, Amou, him and Atak.

As a young man, Malong attended basic schools in his home village. After his father was killed in the late 1960s, Malong moved to Muglad, (North Sudan) where he continued his primary school. He had his intermediate education at St. James in Khartoum. It was here in Khartoum that he participated in the clandestine formation of the Anyanya II movement in the Bahr el Gazal area.


Paul Malong was instrumental in the formation of Anya-Nya 2, particularity in the Bahr el Gazal region. When he left Khartoum to join the SUDAN PEOPLE LIBERATION MOVEMENT/AMRY (SPLM/A) in 1983, he arrived in Ethiopia later that year and was transferred to the Steel (Hadit) Battalion of Koryom Division. He went to Officers’ Cadet and graduated with the rank of captain in 1984. After his graduation he was transferred to Northern Upper Nile around the Maban area. During that time, Dr. John Garang created what he called the Axis Front, where the permanent members of the High Command (which was then the highest echelon of the SPLA command) were posted. The Northern Upper Nile is one of areas where the Axis Fronts were created.

He returned to Itang, which was then the second largest refugee camp in Ethiopia. After a few months of lull, he was recalled and commissioned to the rank of major in late 1985. Malong was then posted to Southern Blue Nile in the Eagle Battalion, where he spent three years at the battle front.

In 1988, Paul Malong was arrested while on leave in Itang on charges of insubordination and an apparent disagreement with Dr. John Garang on some policy issues. And was sentenced for more than two years in prison; while in prison at the small village of Pakeda, some of his infamous contemporaries at the prison included Kerubino Kuanyin Bol. Kerubino was Garang’s number two and had been put in indefinite jail for undermining the leadership of the movement.

When the Mengistu regime in Ethiopia collapsed in 1991, Malong, a prisoner at large, became a roving commander with no definite assignment. In 1992, after the dismissal of all charges, Malong was promoted to the rank of alternate commander. He was posted in Eastern Equatoria, which in the SPLA Jargon was named Eastern Nile Front. His theatre of operations included Latukei, Magwi and Pageri, among other towns. With the defection of CDR William Nyuon Bany, Malong was assigned to pursue him upon which he was wounded in the leg.

The SPLA started the reorganization of the fronts and Northern Bahr el Gazal in addition to Gogrial became Area Independent Command Zone. Malong was appointed its commander in August 1993. In the subsequent years, the area was designated as Division 10 with Malong as its alternate commander; it included former Northern Bahr el Gazal area, Gogrial and Abyei areas.

Like any other liberation movement, SPLA was not prone to reorganization. The intention was to help the movement plan strategically. In the process, Dr. John Garang created war fronts, which are more or less a replica of a conventional army setting. The belief then was that senior army officers couldn’t go to war yet the top leadership felt they could be assigned to the frontline like any other junior officer. In light of this reality, in the year 2000, Salva Kiir Mayardit was made commander of Bahr el Gazal front, which covered the former states of Northern Bahr el Gaza, Western Bahr el Gazal, Warrap, Lakes and Abyei area. He was deputized by Malong as head of administration and logistics. The headquarters were in Yith-kuel in the present day Tonj state.

After a successful liberation war in greater Northern Bahr el Gazal area, the SPLA front command leadership was reshuffled. Malong maintained his position as the deputy front commander under the leadership of Pieng Deng Majok, who took over as the overall commander of the sector. He maintained the position until the penning of the Naivaisha’s Peace Agreement (CPA) on January 9, 2004.

Comprehensive Peace Agreement (2005)

The prolonged civil war resulted in tones of sufferings. By the time the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in Kenya, the populace of South Sudan was anxious and ready to embrace the peace agreement.

Malong was instrumental in the setup of the South Sudan Presidential Guards. Subsequently, he was made head of the Presidential Guards. As stipulated in the peace agreement, Malong was appointed in 2006 at the helm of National Security as one of the Deputy Chiefs for the whole country (Sudan). His main task was taking charge of South Sudan. He displayed military expertise during that process, including the building of the premises that house the current National Security offices in Juba. When the war between the South Sudan and Sudan was ignited by the tribal militias in South Sudan in December 2007, Malong was transferred to Northern Bahr el Gazal as the State Governor.

The appointment was effected in February 2008. The reason behind this particular appointment was his peculiar relations with the grassroots, particularly in the North-South border divide. Eventually, peace prevailed. As a civilian governor, he still participated in the military affairs of the country because it has always been his field of expertise; he then won first general elections in April 2010 and became the First Elected Governor of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State, with Aweil as Capital, the position he held till February 24, 2014.

At the advent of the December 15, 2013 crisis, Malong was shifted from his position as the State Governor of Northern Bahr El Ghazal and appointed back to the military as the Chief of General Staff of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) on February 24, 2014 by the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit. He became army chief, replacing James Hoth Mai.

Malong as the second in command of the SPLA, and as a custodian of the security of the country, his role was to command the war in defending the land against any aggressor, coming from the inside or outside the country. He was tasked by the president to make sure the SPLA is more than ready to defend the people, the land and the resources against any aggressor. He was also tasked to assure the people of South Sudan that SPLA shall continue to prove that it possesses the capability, the agility and the dignity to defend and protect the country and its people with pride under the leadership of Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

Gen. Malong’s message to the people of South Sudan has always been “We in the SPLA stand firm and wary of anything that threaten the freedom and lives of our people. We stand on guard in defense of territorial integrity of South Sudan and the Interim Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan. We are very proud of you as a people and always are at your disposal and ready to do what it takes to defend the country in totality if any situation dictates.”

In December 2016, he was flown to Nairobi, Kenya for treatment in Nairobi Hospital after fell unconscious and collapsed in Juba.

In May 2017, President Kiir issued a presidential decree replacing him with General James Ajonga Mawut. Malong tried to leave Juba for his home town of Aweil but he did not reach the destination as he was quickly accused of making rebellion. The officials in Yirol lured Gen. Paul Malong and his companions to get back to Juba because the government was in fear that they would sparked a rebellion.

But Gen. Paul Malong expelled the accuse, saying to Eye Radio on phone from Yirol, “I want to live as a normal person, as you know that this month of May is all concerning cultivation; my tractors are already in the fields that is why you have seen me heading to Aweil”. Malong also said, “Whatever has been said, there is no reality, because if I wanted to have a problem that problem should be in Juba,” he told Radio Miraya FM, a United Nations radio station.

Malong the Good Samaritan

In one of the rare cases, Paul Malong’s father was killed in the village when Malong was only eight years old. Paul Malong was raised by his mother following the demise of his father who was killed by a member of his community. The young Malong learned self-reliance as he tried to provide support for his mother. Currently, Malong is 100% the sole caretaker of the man who killed his father by providing him with shelter, food, clothing, healthcare and everything.

Malong’s generosity is attested to by many people who know the man personally. He has a soft heart for the poor and has proven at every opportunity he gets to look after the orphans and the widows. In 2016, Malong was seen riding his bike on the streets of Awiel visiting the impoverished parts of the town and studying the situation that woman and children where in. Gen. Malong then went to the the rice stores of Aweil and made sure that all that needed the food had got it.

He is described as cheeky with an incredible sense of humour. He would get a phone call from someone he barely knows and would joke on the phone with the person as if they have known each other for year.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël website (SSB) do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

  1. Mawien Magol says:

    Can you tell us how Paul Malong Awan get PhD?


  2. Wenyin says:

    Akeen, Paul has shown to all what he has been contemplating all along. Similarly, Riek Machar, as well, disputing allegations to his role in 2012 failed coup, then clearly, proved FIRE POWER to fight, one year? NO. more than a year since. Road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Who did Paul ran to kick off his version of bloody war? Bashir!
    THE DOG QUICKLY RETURNS TO ITS VOMIT. Just as did machar so is Paul malong


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