52 killed in fighting in disputed region straddling Sudan and South Sudan

    The Hawk
    January29/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    Deadly Border Attack in Abyei: 52 Killed, UNISFA Base Attacked, and Rising Tensions Over Ethnic Clashes

    Sudanese refugees

    Juba: More than 50 people, including women and children, were killed in attacks along South Sudan's border with Sudan, a local official said on Monday, in the deadliest incident in a spate of attacks since 2021 related to a boundary dispute.

    Armed youth from South Sudan's Warrap State carried out the raids into the neighbouring Abyei region, said Bulis Koch, the Information Minister for Abyei.

    Abyei is an oil-rich area that is jointly administered by South Sudan and Sudan, which have both staked claims to it.

    Koch told Reuters that 52 people, among them women, children and police officers, were killed during the attacks on Saturday. A further 64 people were wounded.

    "Because of the current dire security situation at hand, which has created fears and panic we have imposed a curfew," he said.

    A Ghanaian peacekeeper from a United Nations force based in Abyei was killed when its base in Agok town was attacked amid the violence, the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) said on Sunday.

    Koch said that hundreds of displaced civilians had sought shelter at a UNISFA base.

    William Wol, Warrap State's Information Minister, said that his government would conduct a joint investigation with the Abyei administration.

    There have been repeated clashes in Abyei between rival factions of the Dinka ethnic group related to the location of administrative boundary that is a source of significant tax revenues.

    Koch said that Dinka youth from Warrap and the forces of a rebel leader from the Nuer ethnic group carried out the attacks against Dinkas and Nuers in Abyei.

    Civil war in South Sudan, fought largely along ethnic lines between Dinkas and Nuers, caused hundreds of thousands of deaths between 2013 and 2018.

    Since then, routine clashes among a patchwork of armed groups have continued to kill and displace large numbers of civilians. Fighting in Abyei in November killed at least 32 people.