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Unisfa staff member killed in southern Sudan

July 15 - 2020 KADUGLI (UPDATED)
An Unisfa patrol in Abyei (Unisfa)
An Unisfa patrol in Abyei (Unisfa)

A Sudanese civilian working for the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (Unisfa) was shot dead in Sudan’s Kadugli, capital of South Kordofan, on Monday.

Witnesses in Kadugli told Radio Dabanga that the incident occurred at about 18:00 when the Unisfa staff arrived by vehicle from El Obeid in North Kordofan.

An armed man opened fire on the vehicle on the road between the Merta and Kalba districts. Haisam Awad, who was sitting in the back seat of the vehicle, was killed. The attacker escaped.

The police started an investigation.

Abyei border dispute

Since the secession of South Sudan from Sudan in 2011, both countries claim the border area of Abyei. The oil-rich 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.

The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (Unisfa) was established by the UN Security Council in June 2011 to monitor and verify the redeployment of armed forces from Abyei. Unisfa also has a mandate to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, protect the area from incursions by unauthorized elements, and ensure security. Unisfa deploys 5,326 military personnel and 50 police officers. The UN mission costs $268 million a year (figure from 2017).

* Disambiguation: Owing to a mistranslation, an earlier version of this article erroneously listed the victim as an employee of Unicef [ed].


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