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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid