UN Security to deliberate over Abyei in close door meeting

The UN Security Council will today receive briefings on the activities of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), covering the period from 15 April to 3 October.

This is in anticipation of the renewal of the mandate of UNISFA as well as the mission’s support to the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism [JBVMM] expected to happen before its expiration on 15 November.

The Council unanimously renewed UNISFA’s mandate and structure in May 2022.

According to the Security Council Report [What’s In Blue], the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations (DPPA-DPO) Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee and Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Horn of Africa Hanna Serwaa Tetteh will brief the Security Council in closed door consultations on Thursday.

Over the past few months, the security situation in Abyei has remained volatile.

In September, UNISFA expressed concerns over renewed clashes between the Twic and Ngok Dinka communities – 28 kilometres from Abyei town.

According to the UN Secretary-General’s report, there were 19 direct attacks against civilians, which reportedly resulted in the deaths of 28 people.

In October, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) issued a statement expressing concern over violent clashes which has also led to the burning of property and “the mass displacement of thousands of civilians on both sides”.

The UN has called on South Sudan and Sudan to find a lasting solution to Abyei conflicts. It blamed the two countries of failing to hold the meeting of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) since 2017. The AJOC is a body tasked with overseeing security issues in Abyei. It is comprised of representatives from Sudan, South Sudan, the African Union, and UNISFA’s force commander.

This week, Juba and Khartoum expressed willingness to support dialogue on the political and security situation in Abyei.

On September 29, the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) adopted a communiqué, which reiterated its call for Sudan and South Sudan to accelerate the implementation of the 2011 Agreement on Temporary Security and Administrative Arrangements for the Abyei Administrative Area.

It asked the two countries to finalize the establishment of the Abyei Area Administration, the Abyei Area Council, and the Abyei Police Service.

AUPSC also requested the AU Commission to nominate a facilitator for the AJOC to assist it in carrying out its functions, among others.