Tension high as SPLA-IO threatens to attack government soldiers at Pagak bridge


Soldiers of the SPLA-IO in undisclosed area in Pagak. Photo: File

Pagak/Maiwut, August 14, 2017 (SSNA) — The Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) is threatening to attack South Sudanese government troops who are stationed at the main bridge connecting Pagak and Ethiopia after they were defeated from Gezira and other areas of Pagak, deputy commanding General of the SPLA-IO 5th Division said.

The armed opposition said it has dislodged all government troops from Pagak Saturday evening and that Juba-backed forces decided to stage a sit-in military style at Pagak bridge, creating a “hostage like situation.”

“The way they stationed themselves is an act of cowardice. You cannot sit where other people who have nothing to do with the fighting could get hurt,” Major General James Ochan Puot told the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) in Pagak.

“They came here to fight us, they cannot just create this hostage like situation for Ethiopians,” he added.

Maj. Gen. Ochan also warned that the SPLA-IO is well prepared to surgically eliminate government troops if they insist on staying.

The South Sudan News Agency has confirmed that a high-ranking commanding General of the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) met with Bol Ruach Rom, Nhial Batoang, and other government military officers Monday afternoon at the Ethiopian site.

The discussion was a secret.

However, the South Sudan News Agency has learned from an ENDF source that South Sudan’s government forces were told by the Ethiopian commanding General that they must leave the bridge since their presence there threatens the lives of Ethiopians.

“They were given less than two days to stay there. It is up to them to decide, but the ENDF will not tolerate further skirmish at the bridge,” the source said.

The SSNA understands that Ethiopia troops who are deployed at and around Pagak bridge on the Ethiopian site opened fired on SPLA-IO troops, killing at least six people.

A joint investigation between the SPLA-IO and ENDF troops revealed that Ethiopian troops have no intention of firing at the armed opposition and that they were simply trying to defend their side after Juba-backed forced took cover on Pagak bridge.

SPLA-IO Spokesman Brig. General William Gatjiath said that they captured Pagak Saturday evening and warned that the armed opposition is fully prepared to destroy government forces.

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