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."

 

Saudi Arabia vows to cover UN aid appeal for Yemen

'Differences' emerge in Libya peace talks

Israel pledges to transfer frozen taxes to Palestinian Authority

Unidentified gunman opens fire on pro-Kurdish party office in Turkey

Iraq PM's spokesman resigns over pro-Saddam song

Tunisia prevents departure of more than 12,000 would-be jihadists

Iraqi forces kill Hussein deputy in Salahuddin province

Iraq massacre site turns into memorial

Israeli coalition talks approaching deadline

Turkish PM condemns EU resolution on Armenian genocide

Tehran calls for immediate Yemen peace talks

Assad accuses Turkey of torpedoing UN Aleppo truce plan

New round of Libya rival talks in Morocco

EU urged to label Israeli West bank products

General Dempsey: Military option on Iran 'intact'

UN chief calls for immediate Yemen ceasefire

Abadi to Iran: We welcome your help as long as you respect Iraq sovereignty

Anger in Indonesia as Saudi Arabia executes second woman

France jihadist attacks fuel unprecedented rise in Islamophobia

Turkey mine chief: ‘I am not a murderer’

France sees progress in Rafale jet negotiations with UAE

Lebanese TV contempt trial opens at slain Hariri tribunal

Fresh round of Iran nuclear talks April 22-23 in Vienna

Yemen calls on renegade army units to drop support for Huthis

UN envoy condemns Libya air strike as 'unacceptable'

African migrants’ hope of reaching Europe dashed

Armenian senior advisor to Turkish PM retires

Egypt to demolish ousted Mubarak’s party HQ

Slow turnout in Sudan polls

UN peace envoy to Yemen quits

Reconquest of all of Anbar remains out of reach for now

Iran holds Obama 'accountable' for fate of nuclear agreement

Arab coalition mulls large-scale manoeuvre in preparation for ‘ground assault’

Libya appeals for Russia support over arms embargo

Turkey vows to brush off any EU genocide decision

Bashir heads toward widely expected victory with ‘empty ballot boxes’

Rebels in southern Syria reject all forms of cooperation with Qaeda affiliate

21 million children in MENA region at risk of having no education

Two military cadets killed in Egypt bombing

Egypt, Saudi consider holding joint military exercise

Kerry 'confident' US can reach Iran nuclear deal

Libya rival talks in Algiers 'great success'

World powers up pressure on Yemen rebels

HRW cites 'strong' evidence of Syria regime chemical attacks

UN Security Council blacklists Houthi leaders