President Salva Kiir sacked the army chief on Tuesday following reports that he was allegedly behind recent protests calling for the government's ouster.
The decree announcing the immediate removal of Gen. Paul Malong Awan was read out on South Sudan Broadcasting Cooperation late in the evening. It did not specify any particular reason for the dismissal.
Kiir appointed Gen. Ajongo Mawut as the new army chief, according the presidential decree announced on national television.
On Monday, university students took to the streets in the capital, Juba, to protest against the rise in the cost of living. The protesters were joined by Juba residents who chanted slogans against Kiir and carried banners accusing him of being responsible for the collapse of the country and urged him to step down.
South Sudan has been mired in civil war since 2013 when Kiir accused his sacked deputy Riek Machar of coup d’etat against his government. Machar denied the allegations and then later went on to form a rebellion to oust the government.
The conflict took an ethnic dimension, killing tens of thousands of people and displacing millions; almost half of the country’s 12 million population remains at risk of starvation.