Following weeks of fighting between the SPLA-IO-Riek forces and the government forces combined with SPLA-IO-Taban over the control of the two towns of Maiwut and Pagak previously SPLA-IO-Riek strongholds, the government finally announced the total defeat of IO-Riek forces on August 7.
The rebel spokesmen as always refused to acknowledge having lost the strategic town initially but later one of the spokespersons named Lam Gabriel confirmed the news to Reuters news agency.
Media couldn’t independently verify who controls Pagak and Maiwut which serves as the state capital for newly created Maiwut state. Numerous rebel propaganda sites reported on August 8 that rebel forces were able to regain control of both towns but the government denied this.
The government said the rebels tried severally to recapture Pagak but were beaten off. On August 11, rebel media officials again announced having recaptured both towns but this was denied by Maiwut governor Bol Rom Ruach who is leading government operations in Maiwut State.
The governor in a telephone interview with Netherlands based Radio Tamazuj, claimed he was at Pagak town meeting Ethiopian border officials to discuss reopening of the border at the time of interview.
On Wednesday, August 16 the SPLA Chief of Defense Force, General James Ajongo Mawut accompanied by media visited Pagak town to give soldiers a moral boost. On the ground, he met the governor and army generals leading the operations in Pagak. In a news clip aired on SSBC Wednesday evening, General James Ajongo praised the army for respecting civilians and not destroying civilian properties during the operation to capture Pagak.
Ajongo’s visit confirmed that the government forces are in control of Pagak, August 16, 2017.