General James Ajongo Mawut (File Photo):
By Jale Richard
The Chief of Defense Forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, General James Ajongo Mawut has died, President Kiir announced yesterday.
General Ajongo died in Cairo, Egypt on Friday morning “following a short illness.”
“It is with heavy heart that I announce the untimely death of General James Ajongo Mawut, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army’s Chief of Defense Forces,” said the statement issued by President Kiir read to journalists by the Government Spokesperson, Michael Makuei Lueth.
“On my behalf and on behalf of my family, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, and the government and people of South Sudan, I offer our sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of General James Ajongo. We join you in grief and pray that God’s peace be with you all during this difficult moment,” President Kiir said.
General Ajongo replaced former army chief, Paul Malong Awan in May last year.
Prior to his appointment as Chief of Defense forces, General James Ajonga was the deputy chief of general staff for finance and administration under general Malong.
President Kiir said General Ajongo was a remarkable man who was committed founding member of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and army.
“He served this nation with dedication and honor and shall be remembered as hero,” president Kiir said.
The president declared three days of official morning and ordered all south Sudanese flags to be flown at half-mast.
“I call up on all South Sudanese to honor the memory of General James Ajongo and join us in official observance,” he said.
Funeral details were not yet confirmed by yesterday, and the general will be accorded full state funeral, the president said.
The president thanked the government of Egypt for their “unwavering support and care for General Ajongo during his time in Cairo.”
“As the passing of General Ajongo shall leave a void, we will always remember his life and legacy and take comfort in knowing that his soul is resting in eternal peace,” President Kiir said.
General Ajongo joined the army in 1984, when he was among a group of South Sudanese students who abandoned their studies at Rumbek Senior Secondary School for the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).