The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) has expressed deep concern over the continued inter-tribal attacks between South Sudanese Dinka and Arab Misseriya tribes in Abyei area located at the border between Sudan and South Sudan in West Kordofan.
In a statement published earlier this week, the ACJPS explained that these attacks have resulted in the killing and injuring of several people between April and May 2022. ACJPS documented the killing of 21 people and injury of 12 others in four separate incidents in Abyei.
ACJPS calls on the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) and the international community, to conduct an impartial and independent investigations into the circumstances of the killings. This investigation should be carried out with the aim of ensuring accountability.
The organisation provided an overview of the events so far.
In the early morning of 16 May, a group of approximately 25 armed Dinka Twig men, residents in Warrap in South Sudan, launched an attack on the border between Warrap and Abyei. A group of youth in Abyei retaliated which resulted in the killing of seven Dinka Nagag tribesmen and another man.
On 14 May 2022, in a separate incident, at 11:30, a group of armed Misseriya tribesmen from Abyei attacked passengers in a lorry that was on its way from Anet Market to Abyei town. They opened gunfire on the lorry resulting in the injuring of two passengers and the driver.
On 13 April 2022, at six am, a group of approximately 45 members of the Misseriya in Abyei, armed with automatic guns and driving ordinary motorcycles and tuk tuk (motorcycle taxi) with others walking on foot, attacked three villages of Ioe, Nong, and Amiet occupied by the Dinka Ngok tribe.
The attack resulted in the killing of 13 Dinka and injuring 39 others.
The Dinka retaliated using automatic machine guns. Before the attack, the Dinka community in the three villages managed to evacuate women and children away from areas of gun battle.
Misseriya leaders informed ACJPS that the reason for the attack was the alleged act of blocking cattle passageway by the Dinka.
Both communities are nomads, the Misseriya live in the northern part of Abyei and can only access Aweil in South Sudan where they traditionally graze their cattle during the dry season by crossing through Dinka territory in southern Abyei.
Dinka Twig tribe reside in Warrap State in South Sudan bordering Abyei Area near the Anet Market. Anet market is one of the markets jointly shared by both Dinka and Misseriya communities.
In 2020, a group of militiamen fired two rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) at a market before stealing a number of cows in Abyei, the disputed area* on the border between Sudan and South Sudan.
* Border dispute
Since the secession of South Sudan from Sudan in 2011, both countries claim the border area of Abyei. The region is inhabited primarily by members of the South Sudanese Dinka Ngok clan. It is also the seasonal home of the Sudanese Arab Misseriya herder tribe.
The Abyei status referendum, in which the residents of the region would decide either to remain part of Sudan or become part of South Sudan, was planned to be held simultaneously to the South Sudanese independence referendum in January 2011, but was postponed indefinitely because of disagreements over the process.