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Abyei Administrator Calls For ‘Tough Action’ From Internationals

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Abyei Administrator Calls For ‘Tough Action’ From Internationals

Posted by Tim Freccia on May 26, 2011

Deng Arop Kuol, the Chief Administrator of Abyei until the SAF occupation, has called on the international community, and in particular the U.N. Security Council and the United States, to "take tough action" and exert greater pressure on President Omar al-Bashir. He said the tough action should not exclude military options. Following the Sudanese army incursion, President Bashir unilaterally dissolved the Abyei administration.

The entire population of Abyei, an estimated 150,000 people according to Kuol, has fled to towns like Aniet and Turalei, walking long distances with no food or water. Kuol said at this point humanitarian assistance has not yet reached those fleeing, and that children in particular are vulnerable. He said two children and an elderly woman passed away in rains two days ago, and that another two children had died of thirst walking to Agok. Others had been taken by lions.

He said the government continues to deploy troops in Abyei who are killing civilians. On Wednesday three civilians were killed in Majak village, east of Abyei, which was largely populated by recent returnees and displaced persons from the North. They were reportedly returning to collect their belongings.

So far the southern army, or SPLA, has not reacted to the provocation by the northern SAF. However, Kuol said that if the SAF advance across the bridge which is the current frontline, he expects the SPLA to defend it vigorously.

He noted that the UNMIS peacekeepers in Abyei remained in their compound after the attacks up until yesterday – when the whole town had been looted already. “The scenario of 2008 repeated itself. The U.N. in a volatile region like Abyei should be better equipped. The U.N., in terms of peacekeeping, has not been useful in protecting civilians.”

“What is the difference between Gaddafi and Omar al-Bashir? He is wanted by the ICC. I think it is high time for the UN Security Council to take tough action,” Kuol said.