First Published: 2012-11-14

 

UN troops shoot dead Dinka protester in disputed Abyei

 

Officials confirm member of Dinka tribe who worked for UN's Interim Security Force for Abyei died after clashes with peacekeepers.

 

Middle East Online

By Ian Timberlake – KHARTOUM

Tensions high

UN troops in the flashpoint Abyei region shot and killed one of the mission's own employees who had joined a tribal dispute, an Abyei resident familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.

UN officials confirmed that a member of the Dinka tribe who worked for the UN's Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) died after clashes with the peacekeepers.

The incident is the most serious in the region since Sudanese troops withdrew in May to end a year-long occupation that forced more than 100,000 people to flee Abyei towards South Sudan.

It adds to tensions before an early-December deadline for Khartoum and Juba to settle the final status of Abyei, the most sensitive matter left unresolved when the South separated last year.

The dead man was among a group of Dinka youths who harassed leaders of the nomadic Arab Misseriya tribe who went to Abyei town to meet the UNISFA commander, the Abyei resident said.

Because the town is still deserted and devoid of facilities, the group of about 20 Misseriya had spent the night at the local mosque, which the Dinka began stoning around dawn on Tuesday, said the resident, who asked for anonymity.

"A group of Ethiopian military was pushing these people, trying to stop them from stoning," but the peacekeepers were also targeted by the rocks, leaving one injured, the resident said.

Two of the Dinka then directly confronted the troops, trying to seize their weapons, the source added.

Peacekeepers fired warning shots into the air but one man who continued trying to seize a weapon was shot and killed. He worked in administration for UNISFA, the source said, adding that a UNISFA labourer was shot and wounded.

Dinka are a dominant tribe in South Sudan.

Damian Rance, a public information officer with the UN's humanitarian agency in Khartoum, confirmed that a Dinka UNISFA employee "was shot and killed".

In New York, the spokesman for UN chief Ban Ki-moon said late Tuesday that "one national staff member succumbed to his injuries and another sustained an injury as a result of clashes in Abyei between UNISFA and Ngok Dinka demonstrators.

"UNISFA has established checkpoints and is monitoring movements into Abyei. UNISFA's leadership is also meeting with Dinka and Misseriya representatives in an effort to defuse tensions," he said.

Rance said he understood that tensions rose on Monday when Misseriya tribal chiefs went to Abyei town for a meeting with the head of UNISFA, upsetting the Dinka.

"UNISFA put up security and the crowd dispersed," Rance said.

The deadly clash occurred the following day.

"Now the situation is under control," the Abyei resident said.

Early Wednesday UN chief Ban condemned "the series of incidents that occurred in Abyei in the past 48 hours" and urged the communities to resolve their disputes through dialogue.

Ban said he remained extremely concerned that joint institutions, including police for the Abyei area, have not yet been established.

Sudan and South Sudan in late September signed agreements on oil and border security which they hailed as ending their conflict after a war along their undemarcated frontier in March and April.

Despite those pacts reached through African Union mediation, they could not finalise the status of Abyei and other disputed border areas.

Abyei was to hold a referendum in January 2011 on whether it belonged with the north or South, but disagreement on who could vote stalled the ballot.

The AU set a December 5 deadline for the two countries to resolve Abyei's final status or be bound by an AU proposal for a referendum in October next year.

Under that proposal, Dinka would have the right to vote, along with Sudanese with "permanent abode" in the Abyei area.

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir vowed last week that "all Misseriya will participate in the Abyei referendum."

 

Lebanon’s Hariri suspends resignation

Divided Syria opposition meets in Riyadh

Revolt in US State Department over child soldier law

US carries out air strikes against IS in Libya

Morocco bans bitcoin transactions

Saudi-led coalition to reopen Yemen airport, port to aid

Turkey court rules to keep Amnesty chief in jail

France calls for UN meeting on Libya slave-trading

Egypt detains 29 for allegedly spying for Turkey

WTO panel to hear Qatar’s complaint against UAE blockade

Three dead as diphtheria spreads in Yemen

Israel seizes explosive material at Gaza border

Activists call for release of UK journalist held by IS

Bahrain upholds jail sentence for activist

Iraq attacks at lowest since 2014

Turkey continues crackdown in post-coup probe

Hariri back in Lebanon

Putin to hold Syria peace talks with Erdogan, Rouhani

Lebanon's Hariri in Egypt ahead of return home

Rebels say Sanaa airport 'ready to run' after coalition bombing

Greece to amend historic sharia law for Muslim minority

Turkey to ask Germany to extradite top coup suspect

Car bomb in northern Iraq kills at least 24

13 million Syrians need aid despite relative drop in violence

Sudan urged to improve plight of Darfur's displaced people

Brain drain means Syria can’t recover for a generation

Palestinians close communication lines with Americans

Anti-IS coalition strikes drop to lowest number

German police arrest six Syrians ‘planning terror attack’

Palestinian factions in Cairo for reconciliation talks

Turkish opposition daily web editor sentenced to 3 years in jail

Israeli police arrest 33 in ultra-Orthodox draft riots

Turkish lira at new low against US dollar

Islamic republic declares end of Islamic State

Assad in Russia for talks with Putin

UN chief horrified by Libya slave auctions

Qatar 2022 chief has no regrets over hosting World Cup

Gheit says Lebanon should be 'spared' from regional tensions

Saudi Arabia, Arab allies push for unity against Iran, Hezbollah meddling

Syria ‘de-escalation zone’ does nothing to stop civilian deaths

Is a demilitarised Palestinian state a viable option?

S&P affirms good Saudi credit ratings

Israel president faces big backlash over Palestinian scarf

Sudan leader to visit Russia Thursday

Seven years into Libya’s civil war, the chaos continues