April 3, 2014 (JUBA) - Community leaders from the contested oil-producing region of Abyei have described as "very grave" the humanitarian situation in the area.
- UN peacekeepers patrol the streets of Abyei town in the contested oil-producing area claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan (Photo: UNMIS/Stuart Price)
The warning comes barely a month after a surge in military activities prompted the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to call for immediate withdrawal of all unauthorised armed groups in the disputed region.
The UNSC urged the two Sudans to establish a joint civil administration in the area.
Speaking exclusively to Sudan Tribune on Thursday, General Kuol Monyluak, head of South Sudan supported local administration in the region blamed the government of neigbouring Sudan for the current frictions, saying the latter had repeatedly trampled on peace overtures to the conflict.
The latest accusation come ahead of Saturday’s visit by South Sudan President Salva Kiir to Khartoum where he is expected to hold bilateral talks with his Sudanese counterpart over myriad of issues regarding implementation of 2012 cooperation deal.
President Kiir is also expected to update his host on the status of peace talks with opposition being mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
It however remains unclear whether Abyei status would be one of the issues the two heads of state would discuss in the light of the recent warnings and calls for withdrawal of the illegal forces by UNSC to contain the current tension in the area.
"The current humanitarian and security situation in the area is alarming. It is very grave. People are eating wild fruits. The food rations from the world food programme is never enough and it does not extend to the extreme north of the area like Maker Abior, Maker Awet and other areas in the east like Tajalei and Noong. Our people in these are areas are living on wild fruits”, Monyluak told Sudan Tribune.
Monyluak said the rival Misseriya tribes allied to Sudanese government had, despite the area’s conciliatory gestures, pushed ahead with increased military activities north of the area which community members in the area views as rehearsals for an invasion.
"The militia elements from the Misseriya backed by the government of Sudan and other hostile forces, have taken our nobility and goodwill for peace as our weakness," said the official.
"They are viciously stepping up their aggressions aiming at annihilating the population so that it gives them opportunity to occupy the land, which will not happen. Our people will never tolerate the policy of hostility and will never be intimidated by any amount of threats to concede anymore on our right”, he added.
Phillip Aguer, the spokesperson of South Sudan army and Deng Biong, who handles Abyei files, both denied presence of any regular troops in Abyei, saying the area paramount chief would not have been killed by the Messeriya, if such a force existed.
Kuol Deng Kuol, the paramount chief of the Nine Ngok Dinka of the disputed border region of Abyei and a UN peacekeeper were last year killed in an ambush in Abyei.