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UN mission vouch for security improvement in Abyei

UN mission vouch for security improvement in Abyei

By Okech Francis

Security and protection of civilians in troubled Abyei on the border of South Sudan and Sudan will be a priority of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei, the mission said.

The UN mission, known as UNISFA was comprising of only soldiers from Ethiopia but its now undergoing a transition to become transnational.

Abyei is a contested region between South Sudan and Sudan and the UN force is there to create a buffer while the issues of contention are being addressed.

It has however been undergoing recurrent insecurity caused by clashes between the indigenous Ngok Dinka and migrating Misseriya tribesmen from Sudan.

A new force commander and acting Head of Mission for UNISFA, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Olufemi Sawyerr from Nigeria was appointed this month.

He assured of prioritising security and civilian protection while exchanging views with the Khartoum appointed Chief Administrator, Gumaa Dawood Musa, and the Misseriya traditional and community leaders during a visit Diffra, Northern Abyei, an emailed statement by the mission said.

Misseriya tribesmen meeting with UNISFA

“General Sawyer however decried the deteriorating security situation in the Abyei Area since the beginning of February and assured the people that the mission will ensure there is no security gaps despite the troop withdrawal and reconfiguration of the mission,” it said.

UNISFA said the new force commander also “stressed the need to promote dialogue between the two communities and avoid activities that will upset peace and security in the area.”

“He encouraged them to accept the establishment of Community Protection Committees (CPC) and the activation of the early warning system (EWS),” it said.

The Force Commander also met and exchanged views with the Misseriya traditional and community leaders led by Paramount Chief Muktar.

The traditional leaders called for more development in northern Abyei and underscored the importance of complying with the June 2011 Agreement between Sudan and Southern Sudan as the only legitimate Agreement on Abyei. The pledged their support for his administration.

In Todach, General Sawyerr met with representatives of the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka traders operating in the Amiet Market.

“He charged them to live in peace with one another and avoid conflicts, stressing that as traders, they needed a peaceful environment to carry out their business activities without interruption,” the mission said.

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