South Sudan

Machar overruns SPLA base, captures Pageri town

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (centre L) and then South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar stand during a rally in Bentiu, Unity state, south Sudan in this April 8, 2010 file photo. On a trip to New York in 2012, South Sudan's then Vice-President Riek Machar dismissed fears of a military coup in his newborn country, saying such a move would be "unwise". A year later, this former bush rebel turned politician is being accused by his former boss President Salva Kiir of attempting just such a power grab in the world's newest state, which split from Sudan two years ago. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic/Files (SUDAN  - Tags: ELECTIONS POLITICS)

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (centre left) and then South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar stand during a rally in Bentiu, Unity state

Reprots coming from South Sudan indicate that only a day after signing a peace deal, rebel chief, Riek Machar, as moved his forces and captured Pageri town in Payam Equatoria State.

Last night, armed men attacked police posts and villages in Pageri town in Payam Eastern Equatoria State along the Juba-Nimule road sending locals in disarray.

The commissioner of Magwi County, Ben Kingston, confirmed the attack to Eye Radio.

SPLA spokesman, Col Philip Aguer, agreed that he received the report claiming SPLA had no army has no forces in the area.

Radio Tamazuj reports that Machar’s forces have claimed responsibility of the attack on an SPLA barracks located at Nyoga village of Pageri Tuesday morning.

The radio quotes SPLA military sources in Nimule and Torit confirming that opposition forces under the command of Martin Kenyi, commander of the SPLA in opposition in Eastern Equatoria, took the town.

Martin Kenyi was appointed deputy Chief of Staff for moral orientation and as the overall commander of the rebel forces in Eastern Equatoria state in a 2014 reshuffle.

Major General James Koang Chuol of the SPLA-IO, accused SPLA forces of President Salva Kiir of attacking rebel positions in Pageri and the surrounding areas in Imatong state.

“Our forces under the overall commander of Eastern Equatoria Martin Kenyi and operations commander, Marli Max repulsed the government forces and pursued them to Pageri town,” he said, adding that  their troops ‘dislodged’ the SPLA forces and taking full control of the town.

A local commanding officer of the SPLA forces in Nimule told the radio that he had received instructions from the general headquarters in Juba to pull out the troops from town, allegedly to prevent civilians from being caught in the cross fire.

Emillio Iga, Pageri Chief Administrator told Radio Tamazuj that the attacks occurred just around 9:30am and that fighting lasted only for 15 minutes.

He said two soldiers who were injured on the SPLA side and does not know whether any soldiers were killed.

Failed peace deal?

The renewed fighting comes a day after Machar signed a peace agreement on behalf of the opposition and SPLM Secretary General, Pagan Amum, signed on behalf of the former detainees.

President Salva Kiir refused to sign the deal saying peace that cannot be guaranteed is not worth signing (perhaps he was right).

The IGAD peace deal only signed by opposition and the IGAD countries, provides power sharing in the entire country, including Greater Bahr al Ghazal and the Equatoria states.

The expansion of power sharing goes beyond the initial states of Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei.

In these states the government will have 46% shares, 40% to SPLA in Opposition and 14% to other political parties in all the states of South Sudan.

In Bahr al Ghazal and the Equatoria states the government will have a secure majority of 80%, while SPLA/IO will get 15 percent and other parties will get five percent.

Each state government will have 15 ministers.

President Salva Kiir asked IGAD for a period of 15 days for consultations before signing the peace agreement.

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