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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid