On Friday, three villages north of Abyei town were reportedly bombed, and a fourth reportedly bombed or shelled, according to multiple reports from sources on the ground, said the Enough Project. Sources say the Sudan Armed Forces conducted the bombings. These reports have not been officially confirmed. The U.N. Security Council had been scheduled for a visit to Abyei this coming Monday.
“The Khartoum regime is apparently repeating its favorite war tactic – bombardment of civilian populations – which has been used with such negative effect in Darfur and the South during the war,” said Enough Co-founder John Prendergast. “This cannot be allowed to continue. The Security Council needs to take firm and aggressive action against such provocation.”
The reported bombings follow Thursday’s attack on a U.N. convoy escorting Sudan Armed Forces that were part of a Joint Integrated Unit. A U.N. statement said the confrontation took place in an area controlled by southern police and condemned the attack. The U.N. is currently investigating who is behind the attack and how many people were killed. In news reports, SAF representatives claimed the attack was an SPLA ambush that left 22 of its soldiers dead. The SPLA has denied responsibility.
“Given rising tensions on both sides of Sudan’s North-South border, there is a worrying possibility of escalating violence spreading across the region,” said Enough Project Executive Director John C. Bradshaw. “We’ve seen this pattern before in Sudan. The identities and affiliations of the alleged assailants have not been confirmed, but there is an urgent need to break this cycle of violence before it worsens and widens. All parties should stand down and refrain from using reports of violence as a pretext for escalation.”
Photo: UNMIS armored personnel carriers patrol in Abyei (Enough/Tim Freccia)