SPLA in full control of rebel base
Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) is said to have captured the main rebel stronghold of Pagak near the Ethiopian border, forcing thousands of people to flee, the rebels said on Monday.
According to the Reuter’s news agency, rebel spokesman Lam Paul Gabriel said the rebel forces pulled out of Pagak after coming under attack in the early hours of Sunday.
“We realized it would be costly for civilians and our forces have withdrawn,” Lam told Reuters.
The government’s attempts to take it began last month, forcing aid workers to evacuate and the Western world to condemn the assault as a “clear violation” of a ceasefire declared in May by President Salva Kiir.
Despite the set-back, Lam told Reuters that the fall of Pagak did not mean the end of the struggle against the government and security forces.
“Taking the headquarters is not the end of war,” Lam is quoted to have said.
According to the Reuters Lam claimed both sides had sustained unknown number of casualties.
When contact for comments, the army spokesperson Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang did not confirm or denied that SPLA forces had captured Pagak.
“No! I don’t know what is happening in Pagak.I have no idea about what is taking place in Pagak,” Koang told Juba Monitor on Phone.
Late last month, Col. Dickson Gatluak, the Spokesperson of the SPLA-IO under first vice President Taban Deng Gai told Juba Monitor in an interview that Machar’s forces needed to be cleared out of the community in the stronghold of Pagak because he had made the people hostage without basic services.
Gatluak added that they had no intention of moving to Pagak reiterating that what is needed is to have mutual understanding with the rebels.
The country descended into civil war in 2013, only two years after independence, when Kiir fired his deputy, Dr. Riek Machar, unleashing a conflict that has since splintered along multiple ethnic lines.
Machar is claimed to be under house arrest in South Africa since December in an attempt by regional leaders to bring about an end to the conflict. However, the South Africa government has denied the allegations.
By Morris Dogga and Agencies