Violence Erupts in Disputed African Region: UN Official Among 32 Dead in Sudan Attacks

Violence Erupts in Disputed African Region: UN Official Among 32 Dead in Sudan Attacks

Khartoum - Sunday's intense clashes in the disputed Abyei administrative region resulted in the tragic deaths of at least 32 individuals, including a UN peacekeeper, according to authorities. The Abyei area is a source of contention between Sudan and South Sudan. Reports from local media indicated that civilians, along with a Ghanaian soldier serving in a peacekeeping capacity, lost their lives in assaults by unidentified gunmen on two villages in southern Abyei.

Abyei's information minister, Bolis Kuoch, conveyed that 32 people were killed, and an additional 20 individuals were wounded in the attacks. Kuoch noted that the clashes have subsided, and the situation has since stabilized. Tensions in the region had heightened following South Sudan's deployment of troops to Abyei in March, a move strongly criticized by the peacekeeping mission in place. The mission expressed concerns that such troop deployment would lead to "untold suffering and humanitarian concerns" for the civilian population.

International forces, as part of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei, were dispatched to Aleel and Rum Ameer counties to help mitigate the escalating conflict. The United Nations Security Council recently voted unanimously to extend UNIFSA's mandate until November 15, 2024.

The ongoing conflict in Sudan, particularly the 7-month war between Sudan's army and a rival paramilitary force, has raised alarms. The UN special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, warned that the conflict was encroaching on South Sudan and the Abyei region. Since mid-April, over 9,000 lives have been lost, leading to the displacement of millions within Sudan and into neighboring countries.

The disagreement over control of the oil-rich Abyei region has been a longstanding issue between Sudan and South Sudan. Despite a 2005 peace deal that called for negotiations to determine Abyei's final status, the implementation of this agreement has never materialized.

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