Over 100 killed in Sudan's disputed Abyei

2011-03-03 22:11


  • Reef Fishes and Corals
    This colourful guide contains concise information on 234 reef fish and 36 coral species found along... Now R175.00
    buy now

Juba - Southern Sudanese officials on Thursday blamed the north's military for attacks that killed more than 100 people this week around a disputed town between north and south Sudan.

Women and children fled en masse from the town of Abyei, a region that has long been seen as the major sticking point between north and south. Southern Sudan voted in January to secede from the north and is on course to become the world's newest country in July.

"Now all the women and children have evacuated the town. They have moved south because they expect more fighting in the town," said Father Peter Suleiman, a Catholic priest who spoke to the Associated Press by phone from Abyei town on Thursday.

Col Philip Aguer, the spokesperson for Southern Sudan's military, said more than 70 people were killed in fighting between Sunday and Tuesday. Aguer said that armed members of the Arab cattle-herding Misseriya tribe, militia fighters and northern army forces attacked several villages north of the town of Abyei.

Aguer said the southern government blames the north's Sudanese Armed Forces and the government of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for the violence.

"The attackers have occupied many villages north of Abyei and maybe their intent is to move southward so this is why people are fleeing," Aguer said.

Fighting continued Wednesday in the village of Maker Abyior, 15km north of Abyei town.

33 bodies

Aguer said he did not know the death toll from that fighting, but an international official in Abyei told The Associated Press of witnessing 33 bodies buried in a mass grave late on Wednesday.

Most of the dead were wearing police uniforms, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The top government official in Abyei, Deng Arop Kuol, also said the attackers are members of the Sudan Armed Forces, the northern military. He said the forces used heavy machine guns, and that Abyei's police force have only rifles.

Still, Kuol says his people will continue to fight back against attacks.

"People will still fight back. Even if you have a stick and the other has gunfire. You will have to fight back," he said.

The southern claims of northern military involvement in this week's attacks have not been independently verified. Al-Bashir's government has denied such accusations in the past.

Abyei had been promised a separate self-determination vote, but its future is now being negotiated by officials from the north and south. If the intensely disputed issues surrounding this fertile oil-producing region are not resolved soon, further violence is likely.

Conflict could spread

"The people of Abyei have long fought for a right to determine their future," said Clare McEvoy of the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey, a research group that studies the conflict in Sudan.

"Denying them this right is very short sighted and is likely to lead to continued conflict in the area."

McEvoy says the conflict in Abyei "could easily spread and is in danger of seriously compromising relations" between the north and south.

The head of the UN mission issued a statement on Wednesday saying that this week's violence in Abyei is a "clear violation" of the agreement signed by northern and southern leaders in January that pledged both sides to work to improve security in the tense region.

The latest violence comes as leaders of Sudan's north and south are meeting in Ethiopia to discuss issues like border demarcation and wealth sharing after the oil-rich south declares independence in July.

The meeting is the first high-level round of negotiations between north and south since Southern Sudan's independence referendum in January.

The talks will be a key indication of the political dynamics between the two sides at a time when many questions have yet to be answered about relations between north and south after southern independence.

The future of Abyei, which both the northern and southern governments stake claims to, is widely considered to be the one issue that could prevent the peaceful breakup of Africa's largest country.

According to the terms of the 2005 north-south peace deal, the agreement that ended more than two decades of civil war, the northern and southern armies are not to deploy around Abyei.

The ability of the Misseriya to graze their cattle through the fertile Abyei region and to the River Kiir is in question due to the ongoing violence, which the pro-southern Ngok Dinka people of Abyei accuse the Misseriya and the northern government of starting.

- AP

Read more on:    south sudan  |  east africa

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Shilowa supports Vote No campaign

Former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa has come out in support of the Vote No! Campaign launched recently by former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils and former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, says a report.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Huawei B683 21Mbps 3G Wireless Router

Huawei B683 21Mbps 3G Wireless Router The B683 wireless gateway (hereinafter...

From R1671.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.