August 13, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —– Latest reports from South Sudan’s North Eastern Upper Nile confirmed that the fierce battles between the main warring factions in SPLA-IO strongholds and the strategic town of Pagak came to unexpected halt on Friday when a big government troops suddenly “disappeared” – leaving a huge military supply for the rebels.
According to rebels, the government troop, which was estimated around 6000, did not peacefully withdraw from Pagak on Friday. They had to be intensively engaged in a fierce guerrilla warfare and defeated in the battle field, according to rebels’ testimonies:
“In the intense Maiwut fighting alone, the gallant SPLA (IO) D5 forces captured huge stock of ammunition, material and military equipment and hardwire including seventeen (17) Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPGs), thirty (30) PKM, seven (7) military textures mounted with 12.7 machine guns, one (1) Worrol mounted with 14 machine gun, four (4) Barrels, one (1) BM and more than five hundred and sixty (160) newly acquired AK45 rifles. Apart of these huge material and military hardwire, the ethnocentric Juba regime also lost more than two hundred (200) soldiers, including the Deputy Commander for Artillery Unit, among other senior officers.” Said the rebels’ spokesman, Brig. Gen. William Gatjiath Deng.
The rebels believes that many government troops have been killed in the towns of Pagak and Maiwut, and the remnants are being confined in the village of Ketire near Jekow River.
“Following their humiliating defeat in Maiwut and Pagak, the notorious Major General Bol Ruach Rom, the so-called Governor of Salva Kiir Mayardit’s Maiwut State, Major General Justin Nhial Batoang, the Operation Commander, and more than one thousand (1000) Juba regime soldiers under their command finally fled to the Ketir area on the other side of River Jekow, where they have been isolated and confined.” Brig. Gen. Gatjiath reiterates.
While a few are believed to have crossed into Ethiopia, some remain scattered in the bushes of Pagak; however, the rebels report that all the main villages are reclaimed by their forces,a report Nyamilepedia could not independently verified at the time of this report.
“The SPLM-SPLA (IO) wishes to inform the people of South Sudan and indeed its members and supporters that the Juba regime aggression in Maiwut and Pagak have failed and that Kaijaak, Mathiang, Malual Gahoth/Malou, Pamach, Thochdeng, Jotome, Kigile, Jekou and certainly Maiwut and Pagak, among others, are under our full and complete control.” Said Brig. Gen. WIlliam Gatjiath Deng.
Contrary, government spokesmen report that their forces are still in control of Pagak despite earlier attacks by the IO forces.
“In the morning our defensive lines came under heavy fire from the anti-peace elements. We actually engaged them, and after a fierce battle our forces managed to strike back in self-defense and we repulsed them,” Said Dickson Gatluak Nyuot who speaks on behalf of Taban Deng Gai’s forces in Juba.
“Government Wants to Provide Services in Pagak”
Although South Sudan government can no longer provide fuel for government institutions, and life-saving businesses -not to mention humanitarian agencies – within the national capital alone, a heavily armed 6000 troops have fought for control of Pagak for more than a month so that the government could “provide services to local Nuer population” particularly in Pagak and Maiwut, according to government microphone, Col. Dickson Gatluak Nyuot.
“It was their call for the government to be on the ground to provide the services.”argued Dickson Gatluak, a former rebels’ supporter who once called Pagak his home despite lack of government service delivery back then.
“The civilians in Pagak have been held hostage for almost four years since the conflict erupted” Gatluak continued.
The attack on Pagak came amid international criticism of President Salva Kiir’s unilateral ceasefire which he declared in May this year but was never put into effect – leaving doubts on whether Salva Kiir controls his forces or not.
No Body Want Welcomed Government Officials in Pagak
Before August 7th, many civilians evacuated Pagak. While some crossed into Ethiopia, many others accompanied the rebels, who made a tactical withdraw, into thick bushes of Pagak to avoid direct confrontations with SPLA-IG in present of civilians.
“In a tactical move against this aggressive Juba regime operation and indeed in our continuous and constant efforts to protect innocent and defenceless civilian population and to ensure safe, smooth and responsible civilian movements and evacuation efforts, we in the SPLM-SPLA (IO) withdrew from Maiwut and Pagak on Friday July 28 and Sunday August 06, 2017 respectively, lured the Juba regime aggression into Maiwut and Pagak, and then surrounded them from nearly all directions.” Brig. Gen. William Gatjiath claims.
Upon his arrival in Maiwut, a government handpicked governor, Maj. Gen. Bol Ruai Rom and his military office were not welcomed by the local population. Instead residents fled the towns as government troops closed in due to fear of their fates.
According to Hon. Sarah Nyanath Yoang, a former politician who is now in the opposition under Machar, tens thousands of civilians were displaced into Ethiopia.
“The government is lying that it is being received [by the people],” she said. “They are not liberating the area. They are terrorizing the area.” Said Sarah Nyanath.
Contrary to rebels reports, Governor Bol Ruai Rom was welcomed by some civilians and extended a friendly gestures to those who evacuated the town to return home, saying that peace has returned and his government wants to provide services.
“I am also happy to announce that the Citizens we got in Pagak are very excited and happy to receive the State Government and tomorrow they will inform the rest of the people to return to their houses in the neighboring towns.” Said Governor Gen. Bol when he captured Pagak and Maiwut.
“Finally, Peace has come home to Maiwut State. Maiwut State deserves peace, security and stability in order to reap the dividends of peace. I am so grateful to you all and to the neigboring states for the moral and political support… Your government will provide the basic servcices such security, education, health, cleaning drinking water and all other basic neccessities. Your government is here to provide all the necessary support to you.” He continued.
South Sudan conflict has been brutal since its beginning in December 2013. Many civilians have been killed, rapped or tortured by the attacking forces.
Although Juba claims that its forces are fighting to bring peace to formerly rebels’ held areas, many government strongholds including the New Jonglei, Warrap and Aweil have not experienced any peace or received any services since December 2013.
Since July 2013, South Sudan crises have deteriorated leaving more than half of the country vulnerable to famine, diseases and insecurity.
Due to civil war, over 60% of South Sudan population rely on humanitarian assistance and over 2.8 million people are displaced to IDPs camps within the major towns or to refugee camps in the neighboring countries.