Ahmed Harun, Governor of South Kordofan, traveled to Abyei on Sunday in an United Nations helicopeter. He participated in talks with Dinka Ngok leaders on the security situation in the volatile Abyei region. The governor is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague on 51 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity which he allegedly committed in Darfur.Witnesses in Abyei said that they saw the UN helicopter arriving at an airstrip in Abyei used only by UN aircraft. Harun was met at the airport by vehicles belonging to the UN and the Abyei Administration.
This marked the second such visit by Harun to Abyei in recent weeks, part of an ongoing dialogue among Harun and Abyei Chief Administrator Deng Arop Kuol and other senior figures. The Interior Ministers of North and South Sudan are scheduled to meet with Ahmed Harun and Deng Arop on 17 January. Another meeting between Misseriya and Dinka Ngok leaders is scheduled to take place Wednesday in Diffra.
The spokesman of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) confirmed to Radio Dabanga that the Mission facilitated Harun’s visit, including his travel via UN helicopter. He said the meeting resulted in positive steps including an agreement “to refrain from making any provocative statements.” The state news agency SUNA on Sunday evening quoted Harun as saying that the security committees of South Kordofan and Abyei met and agreed on measures to “to guarantee return of the situation in the area to normality” – a reference to armed clashes Friday to Sunday. The meeting included the federal Minister of Interior, Interior Minister of Government of South Sudan and representatives of the Joint Defense Forces, Harun was cited as saying.