May 14th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – Fighting breaks out near Pagak town this morning between government and forces belonging to the armed opposition group, the SPLM-IO under the leadership of the South Sudan’s former First Vice President Riek Machar, SPLA-IO military spokesman Brig. Gen. William Gatjiath Deng told the Nyamilepedia on Monday morning.
The fighting, Gatjiath said, broke out at 09:30 am local time this morning when government troops tried to leave their trenches in Pagak in hope to go to Maiwut and Turuk towns attacking their forces as they left Pagak.
“As we speak, fighting is raging on near Pagak. It started at 09:30 am this morning when government troops attacked us in hope to force their way to Maiwut and Turuk,” he said.
“They are now repulsed and pursued to their trenches and the fighting is still going on,” he said.
For his part, spokesman for forces allied to the FVP Taban Deng Gai, Col. Dickson Gatluak Joak wrote on his Facebook page that fighting broke out after rebels tried to advance on Pagak.
“Fighting is ongoing as SPLA-IO rebels trying to advance on Pagak,” he wrote
Pagak, has been a military stronghold of the armed opposition group, SPLM-IO before its capture by government troops and their allies in August 2017 after some local youth and SPLA-IO defectors help government operation in capturing the area. Previous attempts by the rebel group to regain control failed owing to lack of military logistics as well as internal divisions engulfed the movement as FVP Taban Deng Gai lure some to leave Machar’s camp.
South Sudan descended into civil war in December 2013 after forces loyal to the country’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardiit and his then Governor of Northern Bahr Al-Ghazal State Gen. Paul Malong Awan went door-to-door in the capital Juba killing civilians belonging to the Nuer ethnic group sparking a nation-wide protests from top army generals from the Nuer leading to a civil war.
A peace agreement signed in August 2015 by President Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar and negotiated under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union (AU) in presence of Troika and other international observers collapsed in July 2016 following fighting at the presidential palace in Juba “J1” reportedly after President Kiir ordered a failed attempt to arrest the SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar.
Late last year, the IGAD decided to revive the peace agreement and had initiated a peace revival mechanism known as the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) to bring back to life the 2015 peace agreement. Previous rounds of the HLRF has been unsuccessful and the IGAD said it expect the warring parties to negotiate on the last round of talks on 17th of May.
Representatives of the negotiating parties are currently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia after the mediation invited them for consultations.