South Sudan Army Recapture Machar Rebel Stronghold Town

South Sudan government forces have reportedly recaptured the rebel stronghold town of Pagak, located along the Ethiopia border.

Machar rebels had allegedly fled to the town and had gained base.

The claims couldn’t be authenticated although News website Sudan Tribune reports that “the Governor of Maiwut State Bol Ruach Rom will issue a statement Monday.”

SPLA-IO led by the First Vice-President Taban Deng Gai accused the Machar-led rebels of setting fires in Pagak before withdrawing its combatants from the area.

“Brigadier Gen. Kuok Dang (of SPLA-IO Machar received an order from) Gen. Dhiling Keak to destroy ammunition stores, causing havoc situation in the area while evacuating the town,”. said Col. Dickson Gatluak Jock, the SPLA-IO (Taban) spokesperson.

The rebel group, he added, is “responsible for the damage that appears to have been done after they deserted the border town of Pagak without any confrontation”.

“About 3 stores full of artilleries shells are now intentionally set on fire and the rebels under Riek Machar are solely responsible for any loss of life and collateral damage caused by mortar shells,” he stressed.

The SPLA-IO spokesperson William Gatjiath Deng was not reachable for comment on the claims. However, another rebel source said the “forces of government are at 3-4 kilometres away from Pagak town”.

Last month, the head of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), David Shearer said there was “heavy fighting” and an “extremely worrying” situation around the town of Pagak, in the Upper Nile region, forcing civilians and aid workers to flee.

At least 25 aid workers, said Shearer, were forced to relocate from Pagak and its surrounding areas due to increased insecurity.

Koch Madut