U.N. Report: 100,000 People Fled Their Homes in Abyei, Sudan, Within a Month
What was foreseen as a possible zone of conflict in the wake of the secession referendum in January organized in South Sudan became a reality as the United Nations refugee agency announced on Tuesday that the number of people who fled the disputed Abyei region is of 100,000.
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said that most of these people are seeking refuge in the southern part of Abyei.
Many people are still considered to be hiding in the forests, and need food, water and other basic aid.
The situation escalated last month, when the forces of the northern Sudan seized control over Abyei, pushing the people in north-east toward south.
After the referendum in January, when most of the people in South Sudan voted in favor of separating from the northern Sudan, at the end of an overwhelming turnout, a new state was created, called South Sudan, which is to be officially proclaimed on July 9.
The two parts of the former Sudan did not agree upon the jurisdiction over the rich-oil province of Abyei.
At the time of the referendum in the south, a similar referendum was intended for this province also, but it was no longer organized, leaving the decision of jurisdiction to the two new states.
Northern Sudan doesn’t seem eager to leave the region since they disregarded the calls of the UN to withdraw forces.
On Monday, U.N. Mission in Sudan asked the authorities in Khartoum to pull out its forces from Abyei, to stop the looting, to release civilians in their custody and to allow humanitarian help to be brought to those who need it.
There are serious concerns, also fueled by the words of Bashir al Asad, president of the North Sudan, who warned that Abyei could be a cause for renewed war, that civil confrontation between north and south could occur, after seven years of peace, since the truce in 2005, that put an end to a war that went on for 21 years.
North Sudan is a Arab-speaking country with a majority of Muslims, while the South Sudan is an English-speaking country with a Christian majority.11