Statement from UNISFA on the recent spate of attacks in Abyei
The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) is deeply concerned about the recent spate of attacks on civilians within Abyei Area which has resulted in the loss of innocent civilians lives.
On 13 October 2017, there was a violent incident at the Amiet Common Market, located 15 kilometers north of Abyei town, in which an unknown armed group opened fire killing two women and injuring four others. In another violent incident on 15 October 2017, in the general area of Banton, located eight kilometers south of Abyei town, three unknown assailants opened fire on a commercial vehicle, leading to the death of one woman and injury to two others.
These incidents, coming at a time when the Amiet common market is helping both communities rebuild intercommunal harmony, represent the work of ‘spoilers’ and criminals bent on reversing the gains made to ensure sustainable peace and security within the Abyei Area.
UNISFA considers these attacks on innocent civilians going about their activities a blatant violations of the weapons-free status of Abyei Area, and condemns them in the strongest possible violations in very strong terms.
UNISFA reiterates that any presence of armed groups within its area of responsibility is a violation of its mandate and the mission will not hesitate to engage forcefully within its Chapter VII mandate with those engaged in such violations.
UNISFA is fully committed to its mandated task of protection of civilians and ensuring that the Abyei Area is free of arms. The mission reaffirms its intent to protect all members of the community and requests maximum cooperation from all the stakeholders in order to enable the mission to achieve this task.
Meanwhile, the UNISFA Force Commander and Acting Head of Mission, Major General Tesfay Gidey Hailemichael, has applauded the two communities in Abyei Area for their commitment to peace and calls on them to identify the criminal elements in their midst responsible for disrupting the relative peace and security currently prevailing in Abyei.