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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees 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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More