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Sudan blames UN forces as deadly violence leaves 30 dead

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

KHARTOUM - United Nations forces in Sudan have been accused of laxity following deadly retaliatory attacks that left 30 dead, with Sovereign Council saying "UN must take responsibility".

Over thirty people died on Wednesday at the disputed border town of Abyei, which is still under contestation between Sudan and South Sudan, police said.

UNISFA forces have been responsible for security in the region for decades now, which sometimes back was the epicenter of battles between the two nations.

Sudan relinquished parts of the Southern territory in 2011, giving birth to South Sudan after several decades of civil war in the country.

Retaliatory attacks leave 30 dead

Three people had been murdered on January 20th near Noong, about 9KM North-West of Abyei town, Sudan Tribune reported.

But in what is perceived to be a retaliatory attack, a larger number of Misseriay armed militants responded by killing 32 people according to Dina Ngok leaders.

The attack also left dozens injured. During the attack, the assailants kidnapped 15 children and burnt 22 houses, the leaders claimed.

It was one of the worst tribal instigated violence at the porous border point of the two countries, local media reported.

UN condemned for the deaths

Mohamed al-Faki, the Sovereign Council spokesman, condemned the attack, pointing an accusing finger to the United Nations forces.

"We, in the Council of Sovereignty, hold the UN mission responsible for the deteriorating security situation in Abyei," he said.

He added that the protection of civilians "is its full responsibility, given that the region is disputed and under the umbrella of the UN."

United Nations interim forces at the town which is synonymous with oil deposits were mandated to protect civilians from armed militants.

Ceasefire backed in the region

To avert a possible escalation of violence, Sovereign Council's representative Mohamed Hamdan has already met with President Salva Kiir of South Sudan.

He conveyed Abdel Fattah's message. The representative insisted that a "comprehensive investigation will be conducted on the incident".

A joint force from the two countries will be established to protect civilians in the disputed area upon consultations, he said.

Even though the two nations detached from each other in 2011, they have remained mutually beneficial given the shared oil resources.

Calls for joint security forces

Tut Kew Gatluak, the South Sudan presidential security advisor, said that his government condemns the unfortunate events in the Abyei area.

He added that Sudan and South Sudan agreed to form a joint committee from both countries to investigate tribal violence.

Gwi-Yeop Son, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Sudan, condemned the tribal violence and announced the arrival of the humanitarian team.

Those wounded following the deadly attack are now under the care of the United Nations as a long-lasting remedy is being brokered, he said.

"The humanitarian organizations on the ground are providing healthcare assistance, including emergency surgical operations, to the affected people," Son said on Thursday.

Also, a joint operation has been launched to trace children who were abducted during the crackdown, with community leaders playing an integral role.

Counter accusations between the two countries

The head of the Abyei Administration from the South Sudanese side, Kuol Alor accused the Sudanese army and Misseriya militiamen, supported by the Popular Defence Forces, of carrying out the attack on the village.

On the other hand, al-Faki said, "The Sovereign council accepted the resignation of the head of Abyei administration from the Sudanese side, Ahmed Saleh Salouha.

He said a new leader will be appointed to oversee the situation on the ground. Salouha had submitted his resignation on the fifth of last December.

The Abyei future has to be determined through a referendum in accordance with the 2005 peace agreement with the SPLM, which led to the independence of South Sudan in 2011.

However, the two parties failed to hold the referendum as the Ngok Dinka refuse the participation of the Misseriya nomad in the consultation.


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