South Sudan’s rebels on Saturday said they had recaptured Pagak, their main headquarters near the Ethiopian border, from government troops after launching attacks on government bases since Friday morning.
The town of Pagak was seized by government army last week but clashes erupted on Friday with rebels allied to former first vice president Riek Machar in order to regain it.
“Our forces have recaptured Pagak…government forces are now based near the border with Ethiopia. They (government forces) are now together with Ethiopian forces. We clashed yesterday near the bridge of Pagak,” rebel movement spokesman William Gatjiath told Radio Tamazuj.
Rebel deputy spokesman Lam Paul Gabriel also said government forces pulled out of Pagak after coming under attack on Saturday.
“Pagak is not under the control of government troops. The government forces are based near the bridge which is very close to the border with Ethiopia, so we cannot fight them because they are very close to Ethiopia,” he said.
Dickson Gatluak Jock, military spokesman for the country’s First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai, denied the rebel forces had recaptured Pagak.
“Our forces are based near the bridge, and the rebels are in Nyambura area which is located about 10 kilometres away from Pagak,” he said.
Bol Ruach Rom, a government-appointed governor of Maiwut, denied the government had lost Pagak saying they have been repulsing rebel offensives in Pagak.
“We are still in Pagak. I am now in the town of Pagak, so I want to say we haven’t gone anywhere,” he said.
Source: Radio Tamazuj