3 March 2014

Sudan: Khartoum Accuses South Sudan's Army of Attacking Abyei

Photo: Hannah McNeish/IRIN
Mud and straw tukuls have been reduced to rubble in Abyei .

Khartoum — The Sudanese government has asked residents of the contested Abyei area for restraint and accused South Sudan's army of attacking Sudanese citizens north of the border line drawn in January 1, 1956, calling upon Juba to withdraw its forces south of that border line.

The Sudanese co-chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC), Al-Khair Al-Fahim, has briefed Sudan's 1st VP Bakri Hassan Salih, on the conditions in the region following the recent clashes which erupted in north Abyei.

Fierce clashes between Misseriya and Ngok Dinka tribes erupted on Saturday in Laki Al-Abiad area in north Abyei killing of at least 10 Arab Misseriya tribesmen and injuring of 20 others.

Al-Fahim said the Salih demanded residents of Abyei to exercise self-control and promote stability and social peace in the region, pointing the meeting discussed the overall situation in the area.

He said he also briefed 1st VP on the performance of the AJOC during the last three months, stressing that South Sudan's army personnel wearing police uniform attacked civilians in north of Abyei.

The Abyei official noted that AJOC submitted more than six complaints to the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) on repeated violations committed by the South Sudanese army.

He called upon South Sudan government to withdraw its forces to the south of the 1956 border line according to Abyei protocol, saying the move would help presidents of the two countries to achieve mutual understandings leading to resolution of the issue.

Resolving the final status of Abyei still remains a major issue between Sudan and South Sudan after the latter broke away from the former in July 2011, leaving several unresolved post-secession issues.

In 2012, the AU mediation team proposed holding a referendum in Abyei this month, but stated that only those residing permanently in the area will be allowed to vote in the plebiscite and decide whether they want to join Sudan or South Sudan.

The Sudanese government, however, rejected the AU proposal aimed at breaking the deadlock over Abyei referendum saying it ignored the eligibility of the Misseriya.

In October 2013, the Ngok Dinka held a unilateral referendum in Abyei but the Sudanese government rejected its results calling it an "outcast".

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