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South Sudan: Acting SPLM Secretary General Blames Sudan for Runaway Violence in Abyei

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Peter Lam Both

The acting SPLM Secretary-General has accused the Sudanese government of being responsible for the runaway violence in the contested Abyei region.

Peter Lam Both’s remarks come after a series of recent attacks in several towns and villages in the Abyei Administrative Area by suspected Messirya tribesmen that left about 40 people dead and scores injured.

He said the widespread violence in the area has been occasioned due to the Sudanese government’s failure to implement the Abyei Protocol of 2004 which accorded the area administrative status.

According to the protocol, a referendum was to be held in 2011 in which the residents of Abyei would decide to either remain part of Sudan or become part of South Sudan. However, the referendum was postponed indefinitely due to disagreements over the process.

“The government of Sudan does not want to implement the Abyei Protocol despite many attempts by the SPLM leadership. Abyei’s case was the first case that was supposed to have been implemented because it was the first agenda even before the referendum of South Sudan,” Both told Radio Tamazuj.

According to the Abyei Boundary Commission (ABC), the body tasked with determining the border of the contested area, Abyei belongs to the South, a decision Both said has been contested severally by the Sudanese government.

“It was picked up by the Abyei Boundary Commission which was established and started to look in the facts of Abyei and the report came clearly indicating that Abyei was part of South Sudan,” he added. “The Government of Sudan rejected that and went on all the way to the Hauge which confirmed what was already in the ABC report that Abyei was part of South Sudan.”

Last week, the US government expressed regret over the silence of both Sudan and South Sudan on the status of Abyei.

In recent months, violence has escalated in the contested region despite the presence of the UN peacekeeping mission – UNISFA.

The most recent attack happened last week when over 40 civilians, including women and children, were killed by suspected Messeriya tribesmen in separate incidents in the area.

In December last year, the Chief Administrator of the Abyei Administrative Area called on the presidency to expedite the process of determining the final status of the area.

The oil-rich border region of Abyei has been contested since South Sudan gained independence in 2011.

Report by: Radio Tamazuj

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