The Security Council has strongly condemned the attack on a United Nations convoy in Abyei, during which a top tribal chief and a peacekeeper from the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) were killed amid growing ethnic tensions.
On 4 May, an attack by ethnic Misseriya pastoralist tribesmen on the UN convoy resulted in the deaths of Ngok Dinka Paramount Chief Kuol Deng Kuol and an Ethiopian peacekeeper, while wounding two other UN blue helmets in the process.
In a statement released today, the 15-member Council expressed its condolences to the families of those killed in the attack and reiterated its full support for UNISFA by calling on all parties in the Abyei area “to exercise maximum restraint, to cooperate fully with the mission, and to use mechanisms they have put in place to facilitate an effective investigation” into the acts of violence.
In addition, the Council welcomed the Government of Sudan’s announcement of an “urgent, transparent, thorough, and fair” investigation into the incident as well as the Government of South Sudan’s continuing commitment to UNISFA.
The attack was the latest episode of violence in an ongoing feud pitting Ngok Dinka farmers against the Misseriya – two groups which have repeatedly clashed in the past, particularly in the area between Sudan and South Sudan which lacks clearly demarcated borders.
Due to the highly contested nature of Abyei, a 20 June 2011 Agreement signed by the Government of Sudan and representatives of South Sudan, ahead of its official independence, called for the area’s demilitarization and the establishment of an administrative and police service.
The following week, the Security Council established UNISFA to oversee progress on the Agreement, and authorized the blue helmets to use force to protect civilians and humanitarian workers.
“The members of the Security Council underline the critical importance of immediate and full implementation of the agreements reached between Sudan and South Sudan as well as the need for continued hard work by all relevant parties to resolve the details and outstanding issues that remain to be agreed, including the final status of Abyei,” the statement added.