Home | News    Wednesday 11 May 2011

Four UN peacekeepers shot in Sudan’s Abyei

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May 10, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Four Zambians peacekeepers that are part of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) were shot at by unknown gunmen in the oil-rich region of Abyei that is disputed between the North and South.

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A UNMIS peacekeeper patrol in Abyei, Southern Sudan, Friday, March 11, 2011 (AP)

Kouider Zerrouk, a spokesperson for UNMIS said the peacekeepers had been forced by armed men to turn back at the village of Goli earlier in the day, and were returning to the town of Diffra when they came under fire.

One of them was reported to be in a serious condition. They were evacuated for medical treatment.

“We condemn this act against peacekeepers who are discharging their duties to try to help maintain peace and security in Abyei,” Zerrouk said.

The U.N. has some 9,000 troops and 700 international police officers enforcing a 2005 peace deal that the civil war between the ethnic African south and Sudan’s Arab-dominated government.

Officials from the Abyei administration were quick to accuse Sudan Armed forces (SAF) of deliberately conducting the attack as part of what they described as "military tactic" to resist withdrawal from the area.

"Armed elements belonging to Sudan Armed forces camouflaged in police uniform that are illegally in Goli with intention to destabilize the security of the area have this evening attacked force of the United Nations," said Miyen Alor Kuol, a member of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in Abyei.

"This was a clear plan and an act of the National Congress Party to sabotage withdrawal of the unauthorized forces because they know they have forces which are illegally deployed in the area like the 300+ troops they have in Goli", said Kuol.

However, Colonel Al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad, spokesman of SAF appearing on Sudanese state media denied that the attack was carried by government forces, claiming that there are armed civilians with no link to the army carrying guns in the contested region of Abyei.

"The Sudan Armed forces were not party to an ambush attack laid on forces of the United Nations today in Abyei", he said.

A peace accord signed by the two sides in the South Kordofan state capital Kadugli in January called on all forces to withdraw from the bitterly disputed region except the special Joint Integrated Units (JIUs) of northern and southern personnel, both army and police, alongside UN peacekeepers.

Over the weekend, the Joint Technical Committee (JTC) under the chairmanship of UNMIS Force Commander Major General Moses Bisong Obi held several meetings both in Kadugli and Abyei to discuss a timeframe for the effective deployment of JIUs and the withdrawal of all unauthorized forces from the Abyei Area.

With the approval of the two parties, the committee agreed that the withdrawal of all unauthorized forces and deployment of JIUs will begin on Tuesday and would continue until May 17th. The committee also agreed to meet in Abyei on Tuesday to assess the withdrawal and deployment process, while reconvening again to confirm and ensure the completion of the exercise next week.

Abyei’s future status is the most sensitive of a raft of issues that north and south Sudan are struggling to reach agreement on ahead of the south’s full independence, due to take place in exactly two months time.

Deadly fighting and recriminations have flared since January, when the region had been due to vote on whether to join the north or the south, alongside a referendum in the south that delivered a landslide for secession.

But the plebiscite was postponed indefinitely amid deadlock between north and south over who should be eligible to vote.

(ST)

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  • 11 May 2011 20:22, by Ito

    Dear Readers,

    The above news is what some of us have been speculating previously; I once contemplated that this UN force station in various states of the Sudan to maintain peace and security through prevention and monitoring of North and South forces from provoking each other would one day fall into big fire like what has now taken place. The decision by the United Nations security council to not issue the force mandate to protect innocent civilians is an indication of weakness on the side of the United Nation. This decision made by the UN is not a smart decision because; (a), it does not prevent the lives of innocent civilian from being taken away, (b), it does not act as a remedy of conflict resolution as they are short in military hardware, (c) it does not alleviate the suffering that is now taking place in south sudan and the marginalized in all parts of the Sudan; this is why I am against the UN statement of policy on peacekeeping force in Sudan.

    I therefore, hope that the stakeholders involved will come up with austerity measures to arrest such incident from happening again. I also hope that the UN will relinquish its previously made mandate and come up with something solid.

    Thanks

    repondre message

    • 11 May 2011 23:23, by Wen De David Kuol

      UNMIS Ambushing is the act of the Coward Arab Paramilitarily so called SAF. They intended to owned by force which do not work. They are also acussing UNMIS of not act after theirs truck mounted with Automatic weapon seized by SSPS in Abyei.
      Please add those changes against Bashir cases to answer in ICC, Now NU shoyuls push for final Referrundum in Abyei and led her own fate.
      My condolence to all family of Peace keepers,

      Keep Peace and change strategies to maintain Peace in Abyei.

      Hordhim,
      Kampala.

      repondre message

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