South Sudanese armed opposition fighters loyal to former First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar have said that government recapture of their stronghold town of Pagak didn’t mean the end of their rebellion.
The remarks were made by the rebel deputy chief of staff, Lt. Gen James Koang Chuol while speaking exclusively to South Sudan media.
“It is not the end of our rebellion if Pagak town is taken by the government today. Our struggles still continue and being defeated today is not the end of everything, it is part of the war,” he reportedly said.
Government forces took over Pagak town after clashes with Machar rebels on Sunday August 6th.
Rebel spokesperson Paul Lam said opposition fighters were forced to withdraw from the town after government forces launched a ground attack supported by air cover using heavy weapons, despite the presence of civilians.
“Because of the artillery and bombardments, our forces decided to pull out from Pagak to avoid civilians being caught up in the cross fire. Now the government is controlling Pagak. It was an unprovoked attack, which is a clear violation of the ceasefire they claimed to have declared in May,” said Lam in a statement issued on Monday.
“Now you wonder why the same party which claimed to have issued unilateral ceasefire launched attacks,” he added.