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South Sudan rebels seize Pagak as government troops flee to Ethiopia

Pagak, 12, 2017 (SSNA) — South Sudanese rebel forces have taken full control of the strategic town of Pagak Saturday evening after hours of intense fighting between government and SPLA-IO forces, a rebel Spokesman has declared.

SPL IO troops SSNA
Soldiers of the SPLA-IO. Photo: File

SPLA-IO’s Spokesman Brig. General William Gatjiath Deng said a 6,000 strong forces mobilized by Juba to displaced civilians, protect Palouch oil fields, and lure dubious businesses to invest in oil were defeated.

“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 Thiajak, Mathiang, Malual Gahoth/Malou, Pamach, Thochdeng, Jotome, Kigile, Jekou and certainly Maiwut and Pagak, among others, are under our full and complete control,” Gatjiath said in a statement obtained by the South Sudan News Agency.

Brig. Gen. Gatjiath said Juba has lost all weapons and ammunition they recently brought to Pagak by a chartered plane and that the SPLA-IO also captured a lot of weapons in Maiwut fighting.

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Rebels said all government troops were defeated to Ethiopia territories

Major General James Ochan Puot, who commands forces fighting against government troops said the main bridge, which connects Pagak and Ethiopia is now reopened after they defeated government forces and calls on civilians who flee their homes to return.

“Pagak is now fully under the SPLA-IO. The forces of the genocidal regime have been eliminated and defeated,” he declared in front of thousands of cheering soldiers Saturday evening in Pagak.

Yie Tang, an officer within SPLA-IO 5th Division also said their forces have cleared out government soldiers from Pagak and that the armed opposition has inflicted heavy losses on government forces.

“Government forces no longer exist here in Pagak town. Pagak is now fully controlled by the SPLA-IO and we completely destroyed them Saturday evening. We have smoked them out where they hid at Gizera and other areas,” Yie told the South Sudan News Agency at Jekow river bridge’s Pagak side.

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Yie stated that government troops were defeated Saturday and were pursued in two directions. He explained that some soldiers ran towards Yom Thombuoth of Lare and that another group he described as “confused,” attempted to station around the SPLM/A-IO’s customs building, but were quickly attacked and chased to Ethiopia’s side.

“One group ran towards Yom Thombuoth of Lare, which means they went to Ethiopia territory. Other soldiers who appeared to be people who don’t know the area were the ones who tried to settle around our customs administrative building,” he said.

“We killed a lot of them and we also took their tanks, weapons, and ammunition. Some of those guys who escaped death from Pagak are now randomly showing up at people houses in Lare,” he explained.

The South Sudan News Agency has learned that Brigadier Generals Mun Gach Thoch and Lual Dak Gatkek who hail from Pagak were recruited by Taban and quickly given ranks to help the government in Pagak operation.

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Mun and Lual were verbally abused by angry Ethiopian Nuer who recognized them at a meeting they held early this week with representatives of Ethiopian armed forces.

The armed opposition said its troops attacked government forces after they refused to surrender peacefully.

The intelligence unit of the SPLA-IO 5th Division Command said it is aware of alleged allegations that South Sudan’s government agents bribed some officials of Gambella regional government to help coordinate the rescue of their forces.

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