Header image

Fighting in Abyei, Sudan

Posted by Anonymous Friday, May 23, 2008 Labels: , ,

In Central Sudan, where my dearest resides, there are three regions known as the "three areas": Abyei, Nuba Mountains (where Toby is), and Blue Nile State. These three areas are highly disputed because of their location--just north of the North-South border, and their oil richness. Part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which was signed between North and South in 2005 allotted for specific border demarcations for these areas with amendments for fair oil revenues going to each region. Since 2005 though, the Government has disallowed these borders to be drawn as promised and consequently led to unfair dispersement of oil revenues. As the Government has continued to be stubborn, tensions in the regions have grown, especially in Abyei, the most oil-rich of them all.

Over the past few weeks, fighting broke out there between the SPLA and SAF. This is bad news. If these two sides cannot get their people and their militias under control, it could lead to a total breakdown of the CPA, which would have a devastating effect on all of Sudan (as if the situation in Darfur is not devastating enough). Please pray for peace in Abyei. I wouldn't mind if you said a prayer also for Toby and those he works with. Thankfully, if any danger spreads into Nuba from Abyei, most likely he will be evacuated and will be out of harm's way.

Here's a report from United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) which is a pretty good summary of the current situation. It can be found here and other pertinent news can be found here.

UNITED NATIONS ةدحتملا مملأأ


Situation in Abyei
Statement by Mr. Ashraf Jehangir Qazi
Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Sudan

Khartoum - 20 May 2008: The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General
(SRSG) for Sudan, Mr. Ashraf Jenhagir Qazi, has expressed his grave concern over the renewed
hostilities in Abyei between the Sudan Armed Forces and the Sudan People's Liberation Army
which have caused numerous casualties on both sides.

He expressed his deep regret that the resumption of military confrontation since early this
morning comes so soon after the parties had met at the level of Ceasefire Joint Military Committee (CJMC) on 18 May 2008. The CJMC, which was chaired by the Acting Force Commander of the
United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), had reached a number of very important decisions to be implemented immediately and in the medium/long-term in order to de-escalate the crisis.

Fighting in Abyei has displaced between 30-50,000 people southwards towards Agok. Five
humanitarian hubs are assisting the displaced population in the 18 host villages in the Agok area. UN and NGO’s have deployed to meet needs: a) food distribution has started in two hubs; b) water facilities are being set up in all five hubs; c) shelter materials are arriving and will be distributed as soon as possible, and d) health facilities are established and serving basic care and nutrition supplement needs. The humanitarian hubs also serve to assist separated and street children displaced. UN and NGO agencies are successfully assisting displaced and local population in all sectors by deploying resources and workers to the region, however operations are endangered by insecurity. Aid workers have reported aerial bombing (Antonov) of a position 4 km north of one of the hubs. Continued insecurity is a concern as is weather conditions (the region is prone to heavy rains) and muddy roads. Approximately 600 people have been displaced from Abyei to Muglad. An interagency team is leaving Kadugli Thursday (by road), expecting to arrive in Muglad on Friday to do an assessment of humanitarian needs. The escalation of fighting and reported bombings will
further exacerbate the humanitarian needs of the already affected population including the
displaced and could hamper the continuation of the humanitarian operation which is being
established in Agok.

UNMIS has been in contact with both parties in an effort to arrest further deterioration of
the situation, which if not checked could undermine the entire peace process. The SRSG, therefore, appeals to both sides to exercise the utmost restraint and to take immediate steps towards disengaging their respective forces. This would enable the UNMIS to revive the ceasefire monitoring mechanism and pave the way for the full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreements pertaining to Abyei.

The recent round of armed hostilities underscores the urgent need for the political
leadership of both sides to intensify their joint efforts to address the issues that underlie the current crisis.