IGAD to facilitate ceasefire
The newly appointed IGAD special envoy to South Sudan has vowed to restore a permanent ceasefire in the nation. Ismail Wais the special envoy through a statement said that he intends to achieve this using the High Level Revitalization Forum which aims at bringing together all the parties including the estranged groups to the agreement on the Resolution of the conflict in South Sudan which he believes will bring about a permanent ceasefire. The revitalization forum is also expected to a new timeline and implementation schedule that is more realistic.
Juba government overruns Pagak
South Sudan’s government forces captured the SPLA-IO stronghold in Pagak area near the Ethiopian border after a battle with the rebels. In a massive attack the government forces heavily bombarded the rebel stronghold and forced them to retreat. The faction of the rebels that was dispersed is under the leadership of Riek Macher. The spokesperson of the faction under Taban Deng said that before they fled, the rebels set fires to property including ammunitions stores. According to the statement made by the SPLA_IO spokesperson, three stores filled with artillery shells were set on fire and because of this the rebels are being blamed for the damage and harm caused to civilians due to these explosions.
Barely a day after the government took over Pagak the governor of Maiwut, a newly created state under which Pagak falls called onto the civilians to return to their homes saying that the government would provide the basic services like health care, clean water and security. He also accused them that the government will be deploying customs and immigration officers at the border between Pagak and Ethiopia after they have secured the border town.
Rebels warn civilians to leave the barracks
Lt. Gen James Koang a senior rebel commander in the rebel faction led by Riek Macher warned the civilians living in and around the barracks in Unity state to relocate so as to not be caught up in the fighting. This warning came after there was renewed fighting in the unity state between the SPLA–Io and government forces at Tor -Abieth which left several civilians wounded and some captured who were majorly women and children. Koang accused the government forces of using civilians as human shields. At the same time, he confirmed the government’s takeover of Pagak and further accused them of breaching the ceasefire agreement that they setup.
Peace keepers arrive in South Sudan
On Tuesday last week over 100 peace keepers from Rwanda arrived in South Sudan as part of the approved protection forces. The head of the UN mission in South Sudan announced their arrival and said they will help with patrolling the insecure roads and highways. On top of the Rwandese forces, over 100 Bangladeshi engineers also arrived in the area as part of the force. David Shearer said that another 600 Rwandese peacekeepers will be arriving in the next couple of weeks and after that the Ethiopian peacekeepers will also be coming into the country. There are currently around 12,000 troops in South Sudan operating under the UNMISS.