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

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora