Statement on increase in violence in the southern part of Abyei Area, call for dialogue

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8 Mar 2022

Statement on increase in violence in the southern part of Abyei Area, call for dialogue

Abyei, 8 March 2022 – The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) is deeply concerned about the renewed violence in the southern part of the Abyei Area. This has led to the loss of life and is causing untold humanitarian suffering on the people as well as reversing gains made towards achieving peaceful coexistence in Abyei.  

Longstanding grievances and disputes between communities in Abyei and neighbouring areas have resulted in over a month of violence particularly affecting Agok/Anet town, sector south, and Abyei Town. The attacks have left several people dead and resulted in the displacement of thousands of innocent civilians. Three armed attacks on convoys carrying UNISFA peacekeepers on patrol have been reported. UNISFA regrets the events of 14 February, during which a forceful entry in the mission HQ in Abyei Town, resulted in ten local Ngok Dinka youth injured and three Force staff injured.

Acting Head of Mission and Force Commander, Major General Kefyalew Amde Tessema, is in contact with local leaders and has urged the parties to exercise utmost restraint to prevent an escalation of the hostilities. While extending condolences to the families of those who were killed and injured, he called for the immediate cessation of violence, and urged all parties to respect human rights and ensure the safety of affected communities.

General Kefyalew said,” This escalation is in violation of UN Security Council resolution 1990 of 27 June 2011 and subsequent resolutions and is undermining peace and stability in the mission area of operation during a critical moment marked by continued disagreement between Misseriya and Ngok Dinka on the modalities for the annual migration as well as by the implementation of the Force transition.” 

UNISFA has deployed and intensified patrols around the areas most affected by the recent violence to ensure that the security situation normalizes. The Mission has also provided shelter and protection to many locals seeking protection at its Agok field presence.

UNISFA continues to engage all the parties and reiterates its commitment to the safety and security of the people in Abyei area while enhancing efforts towards the protection of civilians, in line with its mandate.