Four kidnapped women rescued by UNISFA
Four Dinka women kidnapped on 22 March while they were out to fetch thatch grass at Tol Mach few kilometers from Abyei town have been rescued by the Ethiopian 21st Battalion. The rescued women were yesterday handed over to the Ngok Dinka Paramount Chief at a ceremony at the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) Headquarters in Abyei.
Speaking during the handing over ceremony, UNISFA Force Commander and acting Head of Mission, Major General Gebre Adhana Woldezgu, assured the community of UNISFA’s commitment to its protection of civilian mandate and to ensure that Abyei Area is free of arms. General Woldezgu also pledged the Mssion’s preparedness to pursue its mandated tasks until peace returns to the area, and further advised the people to always provide the mission with timely information to enable them to arrange quick intervention whenever they notice strange movements in their area.
Receiving the released women, the Ngok Dinka Paramount Chief, Mr. Bulabek Deng Kuol, commended UNISFA for its tireless efforts at ensuring peace and security within the Abyei community. Chief Bulabek specially applauded the 21st Battalion for their gallantry in the successful operation which resulted in the rescue of the kidnapped women. He said the proactive deployment as well as the day and night patrols have combined to reduce criminal activities in the area despite the influx of people from all parts of the country and even beyond.
Also speaking, the Deputy Chief Administrator, Honorable Kon Manyiet Matiok, commended the efforts of UNISFA, stressing that the people of Abyei highly appreciate the sacrifices of troops in restoring peace and security in the Abyei area, adding that this is not the first time the troops have intervened to rescue kidnapped persons, retrieve rustled cattle or abort criminal activities.
Hon. Kon stated that an operation to rescue abducted persons from armed elements is not always an easy task stressing that UNISFA troops must be commended for their bravery in successfully carrying out the operation. He advised UNISFA to exercise more vigilance especially during the Reverse Migration since is usually accompanied by more criminal activities affecting lives and property.
A total of six women out to fetch grass for domestic use were on 22 March 2019, abducted by armed men. One of the women managed to escape while another, who is pregnant, was released by the kidnappers. The reason for the kidnaping is not very clear, but the abductors asked the released pregnant woman to inform the community that they were keeping the abducted women until the Ngok Dinka returned their rustled cattle. UNISFA is investigating the incident.