National, News

Troika demands SSPDF out of Abyei

By Bida Elly David and Hou Akot Hou


Troika countries are calling on South Sudan government to withdraw its army from Abyei Administrative Area.

The Troika call follows a fatal communal attack that has left dozens of people dead and scores of others wounded.

A fierce fight erupted on Sunday in the restive parts of Abyei Administrative Area (AAA), leaving 32 people dead and more than 27 others injured.

Local authorities claimed SSPDF forces were part of the attack, an allegation the Division 3 commander, General Akuei Ajou Akuei denied.

The Troika countries, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Norway in a statement, Monday condemned the recurrent inter-communal deadly clashes stemming between Abyei and the neighboring Twic community of Warrap State over a disputed border area.

Troika countries stated that the presence of South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) in Abyei Administrative Area encourages the availability of weapons, escalating further violence.

“The Troika notes our particular concern at ongoing UNISFA reports of SSPDF presence in Abyei, increasing the presence of weapons in the region, and threatening Abyei’s demilitarized status,” the joint statement partly read.

They also attributed the presence of the SSPDF to the intensification of violence and threats to citizens in the disputed Abyei as a whole.

“We renew our calls upon the Transitional Government to urgently withdraw its troops in line with its commitments under the 2011 Status of Forces Agreement,” the statement continued.

“The embassies of Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States are deeply concerned by ongoing violence in Rumameer County. We express our deepest condolences to the families and communities where casualties have occurred.”

However, it cautioned the local authorities and the national government against further escalation of the destruction, demanding quick measures.

“We call for calm and restraint and urge all those in a position to influence the communities involved to take all appropriate steps to prevent further escalation and push for an end to the violence,” they stated.

On Sunday, the Secretary General of the Abyei Administrative Area, Arou Manyiel Arou said the fighting ensued in various areas of Abyei, including Nyiel, Agok, Wuncuei, and Rum-Amer.

He said the onslaught started when locals were still asleep, leaving dozens of residents dead and displacements of many.

SSPFD Commander denies involvement.

However, SSPDF Division 3 commander in Northern Bahr El Ghazal state, dismissed accusations that he was the mastermind of the Sunday attacks.

Speaking to Journalists on Monday, the division commander, General Akuei Ajou Akuei described the allegation as baseless and unfounded.

South Sudan People Defense Force (SSPDF) division 3 headquarters are based at Wunyiik.

The commander expressed his indignation and sympathy for the innocent lives of the people of Abyei and Twic who were killed for aimless reasons.

The Commander claimed he was blackmailed for no good reason, as they needed to resolve Twic and Abyei’s trajectory, leaving aside the SSPDF army.

“Truly speaking it is not good to spread rumors here and there. What is happening in Ngok and Twic is politically motivated? Recently I went to talk with chiefs and intellectuals, and I dissuade them to relinquish fighting, but they refused.

“How can I go beyond River Kiir which is being manned by UNSIFA? Why can I overstep my mandate given by the commander in Chief and I am a trained officer.”

He emphasized the need for national action from the presidency to address the issue between Twic and Ngok but warned against resistance from parties and politicians due to unsuccessful committees.

Gen. Akuei urged the Twic and Ngok Communities to find solutions to their issues and avoid exploiting energetic youths for political gain.

“This is a big lie as the politicians peddle in the media against the SSPDF and me and I beg them to discontinue this,” he said.

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