Maiwut, August 7, 2017 (SSNA) – A senior General of the military command of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) under the leadership of former First Vice president and rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar urges civilians living in and around Pagak to stay in their homes, saying the armed opposition is surgically eliminating government troops stationed at Way Station and the surrounding areas.
Major General James Ochan Puot, the deputy commanding General of the SPLA-IO’s heavily armed 5th Division command, issued the warning Monday evening.
The warning comes after the SPLA-IO forces took full control of the historic Maiwut city after government troops briefly held it.
“Our forces have already been given an order to storm Pagak and rescue civilians from these genocidal regime people who were sent to kill their own mothers, fathers, sisters, children, and brothers,” the visibly furious rebel General told the SSNA in Maiwut.
“Our forces have already started their work and we are urging civilians in and around Pagak to stay in their houses. We want to assure the civil population that the SPLA-IO is here to rescue them from this violence regime,” he added.
A senior government official told the South Sudan News Agency in Juba that the government is in full control of Pagak.
Rebels dismissed government claim as “lie,” suggesting that the Juba-backed forces surrender before it is too late.
The South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) has learned that General Ochan, who recently liberated Thoch Deng, Maiwut, and other areas arrived from an undisclosed base with a lot of troops. His forces, which is a part of the SPLA-IO fifth Division have never participated in recent clashes between government and rebel forces in Upper Nile, a rebel military officer who prefers anonymity told the South Sudan News Agency in Maiwut.
The SSNA understands that some government troops have already crossed into Ethiopia’s territories and have been disarmed by troops from The Ethiopian National Defense Force.
Captured soldier exposed secrets
A badly wounded government soldier who goes by his first name “Leng” has exposed government decision to attack rebel strongholds in Upper Nile. The SPLA-IO demanded that the SSNA only uses his first name, claiming privacy.
In a detailed account, Leng stated that South Sudanese First Vice President and leader of the Juba-based SPLM/A-IO faction Taban Deng Gai became furious soon after the United Nations, Troika countries, and the African Union hinted on revitalizing the August 2015 peace agreement.
According to Leng, Gai quickly called an urgent meeting with president Kiir and the two men made a decision to act against any decision to revitalize the pact. Deng then went to Uganda to meet Yoweri Museveni for guidance. He claimed that Ugandan leader Museveni gave Kiir and Gai the green light to impede any possibility of peace revitalization.
“When Taban came back from Kampala, we were informed at our base in Juba that we will be deployed to Upper Nile to capture Pagak,” Leng said.
“We were told that our main goal is to capture Pagak because the FVP wants to prove to the international community that he is the leader of the SPLM/A-IO, not Machar,” he explained.
Leng also revealed that some of the soldiers that are now fighting against the armed opposition have refused to fight and deserted their original base in Thochdeng. He further claimed that there has been quarreling between their commanding Generals over the best way to handle to war. He also disclosed that the FVP was very mad last week when one General told him on a satellite phone that the SPLA-IO has a lot of troops and that they have no idea if they would resist them or capture Pagak.
Leng is currently receiving medical attention at a local clinic in Maiwut.