April 12, 2017 (JUBA) - South Sudan rival forces in Western Bahr el Ghazal region issued statements in which each side claimed to be in a full control of Bagari, a town 12 miles south-west of Wau town.
On Saturday, government forces said they recaptured the area from opposition fighters allied to ex-First Vice President Riek Machar, who acknowledged clashes, but said they withdrew tactically.
On Sunday, however, a military convoy of the government forces returning to town after delivering supplies and for command operation felt into ambush, resulting in the death of senior officers, including the head of military operations and director of military logistics. The death of the officers and their bodyguards sparked tensions and prompted widespread targeted killings in Wau town.
The deputy army spokesperson, Santo Domic said Tuesday that pro-government troops captured Bagari from rebel forces on Saturday without any resistance and it remains under their control.
“It was not the intention of our forces to launch offensive but due to provocations that have been ongoing by rebels in the area, our forces on Saturday decided to pursue the rebels after launching an attack on our defensive forces outside Wau. Our forces pursued them and did not face any resistance as expected. We entered Bagari where our forces are,” said Domic.
He added, “They are still in control of the town and its surroundings”.
Domic further claimed they discovered, after taking control of the town, that atrocities committed against civilians by the outlaws in the area under their control were too much to be ignored.
In a separate interview, however, Nichola Gabriel, a rebel spokesman, claimed their forces were in full control of the town located south-west of Wau town.
He further said the rebels were responsible for the attack on government forces, adding that they managed to destroy a land cruiser, which carried a Brigadier General with some military officers.