Leaders call for calm following Abyei killings

6 May 2013

Leaders call for calm following Abyei killings

5 May 2013 - The international community today urged the governments of Sudan and South Sudan to remain calm, following the killing of the Ngok Dinka Paramount Chief in the contested Abyei Area yesterday.

Tensions in the area reportedly remained high, following the killing of Chief Kuol Deng Kuol Arop during an attack on a UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) convoy by Misseriya assailants in the Koc area of Abyei.

Speaking to UN Radio Miraya, Edward Lino, Co-chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC), said the Misseriya had attacked the convoy in which Mr. Kuol was travelling, killing him and a UNISFA peacekeeper from Ethiopia and seriously injuring two others.

"The Secretary-General urges the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan and the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya communities to remain calm and avoid any escalation of this unfortunate event," said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson in a 4 May statement.

Mr. Ban strongly condemned the attack and extended his deepest condolences to the Ngok Dinka community, the Ethiopian government and families of those who were killed and injured.

"This proves again how crucially important it is for the two Governments to establish the temporary institutions as stipulated in the 20 June 2011 Agreement and continue discussions on the final status of the Abyei Area," the statement said.

In a Tweet today, UNMISS Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General Toby Lanzer said the situation in Abeyi was "tense". Mr. Lanzer, who is also the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, added that "UNISFA is expanding patrols with aim of maintaining calm".

The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, described the attack in a statement as a "heinous crime", which threatens the stability of Abyei, as well as the progress recently achieved by Sudan and South Sudan in addressing their common security and socio-economic challenges".

"The Chairperson .... calls on the leadership of Sudan and South Sudan to take all the steps necessary to ensure that the current situation does not spiral out of control," the statement said.

According to Radio Miraya, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir addressed members of the Abyei community in Juba today and called for calm. He said the incident was a security issue that would be handled by the country's top leadership.

In February, UNMISS Special Representative of the Secretary-General Hilde Johnson took part in a three-day peace conference between the Misseriya and Dinka Malual. She pledged the ongoing support of UNMISS and the international community, whether in logistics, transport or "quiet advice", for any peace initiatives in the region.