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In Abyei, S. Sudan Has 660 Soldiers, Sudan 150 Oil Personnel, Violations

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 26 -- The UN's new report on Abyei, to become public under symbol S/2014/126, paints a picture of widespread violations by both Sudan and South Sudan, in the shadow of the crisis in the latter.

  From South Sudan, the UN report says its all-Ethiopia UNISFA mission in Abyei "observed the presence around 660 military elements of the SPLA and South Sudan National Police Service... armed with AK-47 rifles and anti-tank rocket propelled grenades; many of them have established military-type settlements, including fire trenches."

  This of course violates the June 2011 agreement; the UN adds that it "poses security risks to Misseriya nomads migrating through the area."

  Sudan, on the other hand, is reported also violate the agreement: "Sudan oil police continued to maintain approximately 120 to 150 personnel inside the Diffra oil complex in northern Abyei... about 30 Sudan oil personnel were observed in the vicinity of the Beer Adrak oil pump station and in Mekines, outside their usual area of deployment in the Diffra oil complex." What now?

  The last time the UN Security Council considered Abyei, back on November 25, 2013, Sudan's and South Sudan's ambassadors traded speeches about Abyei in the Council, and things got personal.

  While the Security Council urged against the unilateral referendum held in Abyei, South Sudan's Francis Deng on Monday praised it. He said the Miseriya had been out of the area "in their own homeland" 125 miles away when the referendum was held.

  Inner City Press has previously reported that Deng's family comes from Abyei, and has questioned if he owns property there. It makes for a more dramatic story.

  Sudan's Permanent Representative Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman took the floor to say Deng's speech was against the current tenor between Khartoum and Juba, and was based on "personal interests" and not the interests of the whole of South Sudan.

  It's rare these days at the UN for arguments to turn personal in this way. Relatedly, some in the Council note that soon after Ambassador Susan Rice was promoted to Washington, there were no more twice a month meetings on Sudan and South Sudan. In fairness we report that others say that's a coincidence. Like Deng's personal story? Both are compelling.

  Now on February 26, Daffa-Alla has moved on from his posting in New York, and it is reported that Francis Deng has been recalled to Juba. Watch this site.


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