U.S condemns Abyei’s deadly violent clashes and criminality

The United States has condemned the acts of violence and forceful displacement of civilians in Abyei region.

It said it is gravely concerned about the re-emergence of deadly violence between local communities along the boundaries of Warrap state and Abyei Administrative Area.

Violent hostilities between the Twic and the Ngok communities began in February this year over the ownership of land and a commercial center in Aneet/Amiet/Agok area.

According to the United Nations, over twenty civilians have been killed and thousands of people remain forcibly displaced following destruction of their property and homes.

In a statement to UN Security Council Briefing on UNISFA for Abyei, the U.S said Abyei will likely continue to experience violent clashes and criminality given that the region continues to lack UN police and a joint police service.

Ambassador Robert Wood, Alternative Representative of the U.S for Special Political Affairs in the UN urgently called on the government of Sudan and South Sudan to intensify their efforts to end these violent clashes among local communities.

He urged Sudan and South Sudan to make progress toward the establishment of the Abyei Joint Police Service, a critical tool in quelling violence in Abyei.

“We reiterate our call upon the parties to renew diplomatic engagement to achieve a peaceful and mutually acceptable resolution to Abyei’s final status and to participate in the Joint Political and Security Mechanism and the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee meetings,” he stated.

Ambassador Robert Wood regretted the lack of political will by the two countries to resolve the Abyei issue since 2011 when South Sudan gained independence.

He said: “These political impasses, which span over the last eleven years, remain because the people of Abyei continue to suffer violence, mass displacement, and lack of basic needs and humanitarian aid.”

The Ambassador stated that the formation of joint security and administration institutions, issuance of visas for UN police, and the deployment of a civilian deputy would allow for greater non-military approaches to mitigate conflict and build peace among communities.

“We reiterate our commitment to work with the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan and the people in the region, our fellow Council members, the African Union, and other international and regional partners to work towards peace, security, and prosperity of the region,” he underscored.

Last month, South Sudan said it has deployed SSPDF forces to quell the fighting in Abyei.

General Gabriel Chol Madol, a commander providing security oversight in the areas of Abyei and Twic said 5 choppers loaded with soldiers arrived in Aneet/Amiet/Agok to restore order.

He said additional 1,500 soldiers were expected to arrive in contested town of Aneet/Amiet/Agok.

There are ongoing peace efforts in Wau, Western Bahr el Ghazal state to push for the cessation of hostilities between the Ngok and the Twic communities fighting for control of a border town.

President Salva Kiir has also met in Juba with intellectuals from the Abyei and Twic communities to resolve the crisis.

The United States has expressed its support for the extension of the mandate of UNISFA for another year to “allow UNISFA to complete its troop reconfiguration and give the mission adequate time to receive visas, identify key stakeholders, and develop essential relationships required for the mission to implement its mandate.”