UN peacekeeping chief visits Abyei after deadly intercommunal violence: spokesman-Xinhua

UN peacekeeping chief visits Abyei after deadly intercommunal violence: spokesman

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-02-23 07:10:00

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- The UN peacekeeping chief met with representatives of local communities and civil society in Abyei on Thursday following deadly intercommunal fighting in the last few weeks, a UN spokesman said.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix and the special envoy of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to the Horn of Africa, Hanna Tetteh, listened to their concerns and strongly encouraged them to continue working toward reconciliation, said the chief spokesman for Guterres, Stephane Dujarric.

The spokesman stated that Lacroix has committed the full backing of the UN peacekeeping mission, UNISFA, and remains dedicated to safeguarding civilians amid the persisting intercommunal tensions in the disputed province shared by Sudan and South Sudan.

Dujarric said Lacroix's delegation returned to South Sudan's capital of Juba for additional meetings on the deadly intercommunal clashes.

"Meanwhile, our colleagues in UNISFA said that nearly 900 displaced men, women and children in Abyei voluntarily returned to their place of origin in Unity State in South Sudan yesterday (Wednesday)," Dujarric said. "The South Sudanese authorities helped with that transfer."

Aditya Mehta, spokesman for the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, told Xinhua the displaced group had moved from South Sudan to Abyei a few years ago. However, with the outbreak of communal violence in Abyei in late January and earlier this month, they sought protection at a UNISFA base in Rumajak, about 7 km north of Abyei town.

Mehta said Indian peacekeepers protected the group at the base but recently sought to return to South Sudan.

The recent intercommunal violence in Abyei, involving the Dinka Twic, Ngok Dinka, and Nuer communities, took the lives of more than 50 people, including a peacekeeper from Ghana and a peacekeeper from Pakistan.