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UN force in Abyei returns stolen cattle to pastoralists

July 4 - 2017 ABYEI
A herder in Abyei (EPA)
A herder in Abyei (EPA)

The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei handed-over dozens of stolen animals back to the pastoralist groups, following incidents of cattle theft between the Ngok Dinka and the Misseriya tribes.

The operations to recover and return the 62 animals concluded on Tuesday. 43 of the animals were stolen during a cattle raid on 30 June near the Sink water reservoir point, and they have been handed over to the Misseriya owner.

Ninenteen animals were returned to a Ngok Dinka pastoralist, who earlier received 58 herd of cattle which were recovered last week.

“With the support of both communities, we were able to retrieve more cattle and we will continue to retrieve the rest of the animals stolen during various animal-rustling incidents in the Abyei area,” said Brig. Gen. Assefa Gebru Workneh, Unisfa Chief Liaison Officer for Abyei.

The mission led the discussion between the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka pastoralist groups with the aim of minimising cattle-rustling activities which is one of the challenges facing communities in the Abyei area.

“We are grateful for the cooperation extended by both communities and for the commitment they have shown to help sustain peaceful co-existence of the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka in the Abyei area,” Brig. Gen. Assefa highlighted during the discussion.

The hand-over was attended by cattle owners and leaders of the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya pastoralist groups from eastern, southern and central migration corridors who expressed their gratitude to UNISFA for the efforts in combatting cattle rustling activities in Abyei area.

On 26 June 2017, Unisfa facilitated the retrieval and handing-over of the 58 stolen herd of cattle to their owner Majej Tong Ngor, a Ngok Dinka pastoralist, on 26 June 2017 in Todach village.

Sudan and South Sudan have contented over the Abyei region, rich with oil, since the secession of the south in 2011. The status of the region is unresolved as governments failed to agree on dividing the border. There is no government or police force in the area. UNISFA is entrusted with overseeing demilitarisation and maintaining security.

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