32 killed in attack in disputed South Sudan border region: official

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South Sudan map (File: iStock)
South Sudan map (File: iStock)

At least 32 people were killed on Wednesday when suspected nomadic Misseriya herders from Sudan attacked a village in the disputed oil-rich region of Abyei along the border of South Sudan, a local official said.

Abyei has been contested since South Sudan gained independence in 2011, while there have long been tensions between the South Sudanese Ngok Dinka community and the Misseriya herders who traverse the area looking for grazing.

Kuol Alor Kuol, the chief administrator of the Abyei area, told AFP that heavily armed Misseriya and allied militia attacked the village of Kolom early on Wednesday.

"Thirty-two people were killed among them children and women, and secondly about 24 people are wounded ... and about 15 people including children were abducted and 20 houses burned," Kuol said.

He said the wounded had been evacuated to a hospital in the town of Agok which is run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

In 2011, the UN Security Council deployed a peacekeeping force to the area after deadly clashes displaced some 100 000 people.

The United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) is made up entirely of Ethiopian troops, with some 4 500 soldiers on the ground.

UNISFA could not be immediately reached for comment on the attack.

The UN Security Council in 2018 warned that the situation in Abyei and along the Sudan-South Sudan border "continues to constitute a serious threat to international peace," and called on the two countries to show concrete progress on border demarcation and monitoring.

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