Sudan’s Al Neelain University has awarded an honorary doctorate to South Sudan’s SPLA Chief of Staff Gen Paul Awan Malong.
The award is in recognition of Gen Malong’s role in ensuring peaceful coexistence between the border tribes of Rizeigat and Misseriya of Sudan and the Dinka Malual of South Sudan during his time in office as governor of Northern Baher-al Ghazal State.
Speaking during the certificate-awarding ceremony in Juba at the weekend, Prof Al Rashid Ismail, who represented the university vice chancellor, said the university decided to recognize Gen Malong for encouraging social peace between the warring tribes.
“The university administration is also offering 100 scholarships to South Sudan students in Malong’s name and the Faculty of Pharmacology will be renamed as Paul Malong College,” Prof Ismail said.
Present at the award ceremony were South Sudan President Salva Kiir, First vice president Taban Deng Gai, ambassadors, representatives from the Misseriya and Reizigat tribes as well as several government officials.
Former Sudan deputy prime minister and an elder in the Dinka tribe, Aldo Ajou Deng, scoffed at people who say that Gen Malong is responsible for violence in South Sudan adding that the people are not on the ground and therefore, cannot “understand how things work” in South Sudan.
“Malong’s role, from the time he left Khartoum until now, cannot be underplayed by critics who want to smear his name. If not for the way he handles the military issues, this country would be on its knees,” Mr Deng said.
President Kiir urged the Misseriya tribe not to dishonour the signed peace agreement between the Dinka Malual and Misseriya tribe. He emphasised the importance of unity between the three tribes.