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ABYEI - 22 Mar 2013

SPLM deny attack on Misseriya near Abyei

An SPLM official in Abyei has denied accusations that two Misseriya herdsmen were recently killed by members of South Sudan’s army, the SPLA, in Tiouk, east of Abyei.

A prominent Misseriya leader this week accused SPLA soldiers of opening fire at Misseriya herders, two of whom were killed, and claimed that 20 of the culprits were arrested by the UNISFA forces in Abyei.

However, the secretary refuted the allegations claiming that nobody was killed but that guns were found in the possession of the Misseriya who were then held by UNISFA.

“There is nothing like that at all.  Anyway in the same region, they passed by in the presence of UNISFA, the opposite was actually correct because there was a land cruiser vehicle loaded with goods from Mujlad or from the northern part which came to Abyei and when it was unloaded there were some guns found inside it. So we said these are criminals bringing guns to the area which we don’t want guns to be there. The UNISFA forces took these people to their compound and on Monday exactly they took these people to Dongakol area which they called Tiouk,” claimed Secretary Changang.

South Sudanese nationals from the border areas around Abyei and Misseriya pastoralists have had a number of disputes in the past, often over grazing rights or the possession of guns.  Given the current absence of either Sudan or South Sudan’s armies in Abyei following a recent security agreement, Ethiopian peacekeepers under UNSIFA have been mandated to maintain security.