Abyei’s chief administrator condemns recent attack on commercial vehicle

Chief Administrator of Abyei Administrative Area Kuol Deim Kuol | Credit: Deng Korchiek Ayom | AIRS 2020

The chief Administrator of Abyei Administrative Area, Hon. Kuol Deim Kuol has condemned the recent attack in which a civilian was killed.

Hon. Kuol also called on the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei to urgently bring the suspects to book. He made this call on Wednesday during a meeting with the acting force commander of UNISFA, according to the administration’s official social media source.

On his part the acting head of mission/force commander reiterated UNISFA’s commitment to protecting civilians in the area.

On 13th of March, gunmen fired at a commercial vehicle between Abyei Town and Amiet market, killing the driver and wounding four others including three women. 8 suspects including 7 men from Misseriya tribe of the Sudan were arrested in connection to the attack.

Some suspects have been handed over to Joint Military Observers’ Committee from Sudan in Todac, official says.

JMOC is made up of equal members of South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) and Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) As agreed by Abyei Joint Oversight Committee, JMOC’s roles include monitoring the prevailing security situation in the area, free movement of civilians, identifying potential threats to social cohesion, communal and incursion of illegal armed groups or militia.

Abyei is a contested region between Sudan and South Sudan guarded by the UN peacekeeping soldiers as stipulated in June 2011 agreement.

Despite the status of Abyei killing, cattle raiding, and child abduction have been common in the area. In January 2020, armed men said to be from Misseriya tribe of the Sudan killed more than 30 civilians and injured scores in ‘Kolom’ village located north west of Abyei Town. Children were abducted, and houses were torched. In April, 2020, another armed attack left four people dead in Mabok village in Rumamer county.

Although suspects were arrested in connection to some of these incidents and handed over to Sudanese authorities, the public is not aware of the legal action taken against them.

Under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended a more than two-decade civil war between armed opposition, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) and Khartoum’s government, the people of Abyei were to hold a referendum to decide their fate.

The voting stipulated in the CPA was to be conducted simultaneously with the referendum that led to the independence of South Sudan from Sudan. But the polls did not take place due to dispute over voters’ right.

In 2013, the Ngok Dinka people held a unilateral referendum in which they voted to join South Sudan, but the outcome was not recognized.