News / Africa

South Sudan Accuses Khartoum of Depopulation Campaign in Abyei

Hundreds of southern Sudanese take part in a demonstration against northern Sudan's military incursion into the border town of Abyei in the southern capital of Juba, May 23, 2011.
Hundreds of southern Sudanese take part in a demonstration against northern Sudan's military incursion into the border town of Abyei in the southern capital of Juba, May 23, 2011.
Peter Heinlein

South Sudan is accusing the Khartoum government of waging a campaign to depopulate southerners from the contested Abyei region and replace them with nomads loyal to the north.  Control of the oil-producing area is at the heart of a bitter argument as Africa’s largest country prepares to divide into two in early July.  

Abyei remains under siege four days after Sudanese government troops and allied militias bombed and shelled the town, forcing a mass exodus.  United Nations peacekeepers holed up in a compound reported the deserted town was being looted and burned.

The south's dominant party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), has charged Khartoum with deliberately driving out southerners from Abyei to make way for nomadic Misseriya tribes that fought for the north during Sudan’s civil war.  SPLM official Antipas Nyok told reporters the government is moving in Misseriya families to serve as a bargaining chip in future talks on whether Abyei goes north or south.

"Now they are transporting people from over 1,000 miles [1,600 kilometers], transporting them to Abyei, the Arab Misseriya, under pretext that these people will come and occupy the houses which they have chased people of Abyei away, so later on these people will claim the ownership of Abyei area," said Nyok.

Word that Misseriya are moving into the deserted town comes as the U.N. Security Council wraps up a three-day visit to Sudan to look at restructuring U.N. peacekeeping missions after partition.  The fighting forced cancellation of the Council’s scheduled visit to Abyei.  

British U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said the northern government’s seizure of the town must not be allowed to stand.

"There are looting and burning now of the town, particularly by some of the Misseriya and other militias, and we have made it very clear that it is the responsibility of the Sudanese government to get their forces and their militias under control and to withdraw from Abyei town to allow some sort of independent security presence to be re-established there," Grant said.

Ambassador Lyall Grant said decisions on how to design a successor to the U.N. Mission in Sudan, UNMIS will depend on how events play out in the next few weeks.

"Part of the reason for coming at this time is that we want to be in a position before 9 July to decide what the U.N. presence should be," added Grant.  "There is an UNMIS, which is a north-south presence.  The question is, do you continue that for several months while the north-south issues are resolved, or do you split it into to two, and have a border force, and then you have a new U.N. mission purely for the south."

Sudanese officials this week suggested they might not accept the continued presence of U.N. peacekeepers after the UNMIS mandate expires July 9.  But Ambassador Lyall Grant expressed confidence that skilled diplomacy would be able to bridge what he called “the very wide differences” between Khartoum and Juba on Abyei and other outstanding issues.

The mediation is being led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, head of the African Union High Level Panel on Sudan, along with U.N. Special Representative Haile Menkerios.

The Khartoum government suffered a setback Tuesday with word that a minister has resigned, saying war crimes had been committed in the Abyei region.  Minister Luka Biong Deng, a southerner from Abyei, said in a resignation statement that he could no longer work in a national unity government with President Omar al-Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party.

Pressure on Khartoum is also mounting from Washington.  U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman said Monday the seizure of Abyei could jeopardize plans to normalize U.S.-Sudan relations, and for billions of dollars in debt relief.

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid