Abyei — The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) has issued a statement condemning attacks perpetrated by unknown armed groups in the Abyei area which resulted in deaths and injuries to civilians.
The last two months have seen an upsurge in cases of cattle rustling, carjacking attempts, and robberies in Abyei, and area on the border between Sudan and South Sudan still subject to dispute.
Last week, the interim force concluded operations to return dozens of stolen animals to the pastoralist groups following incidents of theft between the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka tribes.
In a statement, "UNISFA expresses its deepest condolences and sympathy to the family of the victims and vows to investigate swiftly the attacks with the Joint Peace Committee, the traditional leaders, as well as Sudan and South Sudan governments, and bring the perpetrators to justice.
"UNISFA emphasizes its commitment to implement its mandate to secure Abyei Area and to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, without prejudice to the responsibilities of the relevant authorities.
"To date, Abyei has no police service system in place and there is no functioning joint local administrative structure. The absence of these systems has resulted in the increase of criminal cases.
"The current influx of population in Abyei has contributed towards increased economic and social activities in the area. The unemployment among the youth is a cause of concern which also leads to manifestation of crime in various forms.
"In light of the recent incidents, UNISFA has stepped up its security measures particularly in and around Amiet common market which is a vital economic hub for different tribal groups including Ngok Dinka and Misseriya. Most of the criminal incidents in recent months have taken place in the vicinity of the common market.
"The last two months have seen an upsurge in cases of cattle rustling, carjacking attempts, and robbery/shooting incidents. In May, a grenade exploded in Amiet market resulting in injuries to some civilians.
"UNISFA reaffirms that criminality in all its forms is a serious threat to the security situation in Abyei Area.
"UNISFA urges all communities and groups to support the Mission in its efforts to maintain the degree of peace and stability that Abyei has been experiencing over the last two years. The criminal activities should not deter the significant progress made towards improving relations between the Missiriya and the Ngok Dinka communities," the statement concludes.