News / Africa

UN Sudan Mission Condemns Looting 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

United Nations peacekeepers in Sudan say the contested town of Abyei is being burned and looted two days after government troops seized control, forcing residents to flee.  Our correspondent filed this report from the southern Sudanese capital, Juba, where he is traveling with the UN Security Council.

Demonstrators chanting “We’ll never, never give up Abyei” greeted a visiting delegation of Security Council ambassadors on Monday as they arrived in Juba for talks with South Sudanese leader Salva Kiir, who is due to become president of the newly independent nation of Southern Sudan on July 9.

High on the Security Council’s agenda for the talks was how to settle the status of Abyei - the oil-producing region at the heart of a north-south territorial dispute.  Northern troops overran the town of Abyei on Saturday, driving out southern forces and prompting nearly all of its estimated 20,000 people to flee.

As the Security Council arrived, the U.N. mission in Sudan issued a statement condemning the looting and burning in Abyei.  Spokesman Hua Jiang said the statement calls on the northern army to maintain law and order in areas under their control.

"For the second day running, there has been sporadic fighting and looting and burnings, and the United Nations has not been able to conduct its usual routine patrols," said Hua. "But from what we can see from the watching towers, we can see smoke coming from different quarters of the town and certainly gunshots heard all over the place."

The statement blames unspecified “armed elements” for the looting and burning.  But the commander of the U.N. peacekeeping mission, General Moses Obi, said the only “armed elements” in Abyei after Saturday’s fighting are Sudanese government armed forces and allied militias.

"The town is right now abandoned; it is clear of civilian population," said Obi. "There was dotted burning of structures far and wide, there was presence of militia elements who obviously are moving alongside SAF [the Sudanese Armed Forces]"

After spending Sunday meeting with officials in Khartoum to hear the north’s side of the Abyei dispute, the Security Council spent Monday touring the south.

At the town of Wau, 26-year-old Abyei resident Julia Arual told U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice that her family was scattered when they fled Abyei two days earlier.  They communicated through a translator.

ARUAL: "We don’t know where to take our children.  They are killing us."

RICE: "Who’s killing you?"

ARUAL: "The northern Sudanese are killing them.  What is the international community going to do about this situation?"

RICE: "We are working on helping to resolve the conflict in Abyei.  We were in Khartoum yesterday, we will be in Juba this afternoon and we’re very focused on Abyei."

U.N. Security Council members met with chiefs of the Dinka tribes who live in and around Abyei.  Paramount Dinka chief Kuol Deng says he told the ambassadors that the United Nations must act because it is the only entity with the authority to protect people in conflict zones.

"People are being killed," said Deng. "Everything is burning and we want this thing to be stopped.  We want also there should be disarmament.  Let us make it an area guarded by the Security Council.  They should bring in international troops."

Security Council members say they are considering ways of establishing a new peacekeeping operation that would take over from the U.N. Mission in Sudan when its mandate expires on July 9 - the day the south becomes independent.  One ambassador speaking privately said the council might defer to a proposed solution being drafted by the African Union’s point man on Sudan, former South African President Thabo Mbeki.   



You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs