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UNISFA condemns deadly Abyei attack

May 18 - 2021 ABYEI
Map showing West Kordofan in red and Abyei in pink
Map showing West Kordofan in red and Abyei in pink

United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) strongly condemns the attack on Dunguop village by unknown armed elements in which at least 14 people died and seven or more injured.

A report received by UNISFA leadership indicates that at about 05:30 am yesterday, unidentified armed elements attacked the Dinka community of Dunguop, about 11 kilometres north-east of Abyei town, killing eleven people and injuring five others. The injured victims are receiving treatment at UNISFA’s Level II hospital.

The UNISFA report echoes remarks by Abyei Deputy Chief Administrator Kon Manyiet as reported by Radio Dabanga yesterday.

UNISFA report continues that “the armed elements responsible for the violence fled the village before UNISFA troops arrived at the scene of the incident and no arrest was possible. UNISFA has intensified patrols in the general area to protect the civilian population and search for the armed elements that perpetrated the attack. Meanwhile UNISFA has commenced a joint investigation into the circumstances and motives for the attack.”

UNISFA’s Acting Head of Mission and Force Commander, Maj Gen Kefyalew Amde Tessema, strongly condemns the attack, emphasising that it can contribute to the increase of inter- community tensions and chances of renewed violence in the area. Gen Tessema further called on all stakeholders to embrace UNISFA’s peace initiatives as a means of defusing tension in the area and re-assured that UNISFA is fully committed to pursuing its mandate to ensure that Abyei area is free of weapons and of armed groups.

Consistent with its protection of civilian mandate, UNISFA also reiterates that any presence of armed groups within the Abyei area other than its forces is viewed by the Mission as violation of its mandate and will not hesitate to take action against those engaged in such violations. UNISFA further called on the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to provide full support for the implementation of its mandate and to facilitate UNISFA’s work to protect civilians in Abyei.

Protection

Abyei, an area at the Sudan-South Sudan border, is the traditional homeland of the Ngok Dinka, who have with strong ties with the South Sudanese Dinka tribe. Herders of the Misseriya, a northern Arab tribe, traverse Abyei and other Sudan-South Sudan border areas with their cattle in search of water and pasture in the dry season and to trade goods. The region witnesses many cases of cattle rustling, hijacks, and other robberies.

Since the secession of South Sudan from Sudan in 2011, both countries claim the oil-rich region of Abyei. In the same year, the UN Security Council decided on the establishment of UNISFA, 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, to protect the area from incursions by unauthorized elements, and ensure security.

On May 1, Radio Dabanga reported that the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations requested that the Security Council consider a six-month rollover of the UNISFA mandate, citing the volatile security situation.


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