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UN to Send Peacekeepers to South Sudan Border Area

The UN is to send more than a thousand peacekeepers and equipment including helicopters to the border area of the Sudans.

The United Nations Interim Security Forces for Abyei (UNISFA) said it will dispatch more than a thousand peacekeepers to monitor the border area between South Sudan and Sudan, where 13 people have been killed since troops from both sides pulled out last month.

UNISFA Sector Commander Appial Alex said an advance team of 150 peacekeepers is ready to deploy to the border area, with as many as 1,000 more to follow.

Thirteen people have been killed in three separate attacks near the border, blamed on Sudanese nomads, since Juba and Khartoum withdrew their forces from the disputed region last month.

The drawdown followed an agreement between the two countries, which includes the resumption of oil production.

The UNISFA forces will replace tens of thousands of troops from both sides.

But although the UN patrollers will be smaller in number than the withdrawn troops from South Sudan and Sudan, Appial said his team has a clear equipment advantage: helicopters.

"With helicopters, once we start hovering, we can see people coming even 50-60 kilometers away,” he said.

The peacekeepers' first priority will be to clear landmines near Kiir Adem and set up a camp to house the UN forces.