A top South Sudanese army general in the capital Juba said President Salva Kiir is the only symbol of peace and unity in the nation and all dissenting voices should seek peaceful means to replace him.

General Garang Mabil, a close ally of Kiir, told press on Wednesday that the president was handed the mantle of leadership in a peaceful way and the same should be done while he exits.

“Why I said comrade Salva is a symbol of peace and unity? It is because people united at that time giving him the leadership. If people want to remove the leadership from him it has to be done the same way it was given. It was given to him peacefully. There was no fighting,” he said.

Mabil warned against violence means to take over power, saying that will only divide the country more and increase the suffering of the people of South Sudan.

“But if it is removed from him now violently, it will create division and the country will go down. The current situation is not good but with unity of the SPLM and SPLA, the people will come together and the country will heal,” he advised.

Mabil called on South Sudan leaders to put the country’s interest before their own individual interests.