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S. Sudan government accuses rebels of attacking Pagak

May 5, 2018 (JUBA) – South Sudan government on Saturday accused the armed opposition (SPLM-IO) forces allied to the country’s former first vice president, Riek Machar of attacking Pagak in violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement.

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South Sudanese rebel troops loyal to former vice-president Riek Machar stand on guard in Unity state capital Bentiu on 12 January 2014 after recapturing the strategic town from government troops (Photo: Reuters)

“Machar’s SPLA-IO attacked our position in Pagak through Jekow river and Pagak bridge,” said Col. Dickson Gatluak, a spokesperson for the SPLM-IO faction loyal to first Vice President, Taban Deng Gai.

He added, “Our forces had to strike back heavily in order to end the assaults and repulsed them [rebels] back to where they came from and we rejuvenated back to our barracks at 6:00AM this morning,”.

The Governor of Maiwut state, Bol Ruach Rom confirmed the attack, but details of the casualties involved could not easily be established.

“As the top leadership [of] SPLM [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement] in Juba is working for the lasting solution, rebels need to refrain from any harmful act, which will hinder the achievement of everlasting peace in South Sudan,” further said Gatluak.

Last week, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) condemned the increase of violence in the country in violation of the ceasefire agreement signed in December 2017.

The two bodies said fighting had intensified in Unity, Jonglei and Central Equatoria pointing to the devastating impact on thousands of civilians and humanitarian agencies.

JMEC requested the ceasefire monitoring body (CTSAMM) to investigate the attack and hold accountable the perpetrators, citing the need to respect the ceasefire deal.

(ST)