UN approves ‘final’ extension of Sudan peace mission

Members of the Tanzania military peacekeeping mission in Southern Sudan on patrol. (Shutterstock image)
Updated 12 October 2018
0

UN approves ‘final’ extension of Sudan peace mission

  • The Security Council extended for six months the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei
  • Abyei is an area of about 10,500 square kilometers contested since Sudan split into two countries in 2011
NEW YOR: The UN Security Council on Thursday approved a final extension of its peacekeeping mission in the disputed Abyei region between Sudan and South Sudan — unless the two sides make progress on border demarcation and other benchmarks.
In its unanimous decision, the Security Council extended for six months the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei but said “this shall be the final such extension unless the parties take the specific measures.”
It repeated a previous warning that the situation in Abyei and along the Sudan-South Sudan border “continues to constitute a serious threat to international peace,” and called on the two countries to show concrete progress on border demarcation and monitoring, as well as other benchmarks.
Abyei is an area of about 4,000 square miles (10,500 square kilometers) contested since Sudan split into two countries in 2011.
There have been tensions between the Arab Misseriya and Ngok Dinka peoples of the region.
Sudan and South Sudan years ago agreed to take steps for setting up an administrative structure for Abyei but the Security Council in May, when it last renewed UNISFA’s mandate, expressed disappointment that “few steps” had been taken in that direction.
In November 2015, shelling in Abyei killed a four-year-old girl and a UNISFA peacekeeper.
Almost the entire UNISFA contingent of several thousand troops comes from Ethiopia.


Afghan vote enters second day after series of bloody attacks, claims of mismanagement

Updated 11 min 49 sec ago
0

Afghan vote enters second day after series of bloody attacks, claims of mismanagement

  • Election Commission said more than three million people out of 8.8 million managed to cast their vote on Saturday
  • On Sunday the Election Commission sent more ballot papers for 401 polling stations where people could not vote owing to attacks and irregularities

KABUL: Voting resumed for a second day on Sunday in Afghanistan where the process was marred by bloody attacks and claims of massive irregularities that deprived hundreds of thousands of people of votes for a new parliament.
The mismanagement claims have been seen as another sign of the government’s inefficiency in holding the ballot, which already has faced a delay of more than three years and comes six months ahead of the presidential vote.
The government said it added several thousand more forces to the 50,000 troops already deployed, to further protect some of the sites where polls could not be held on Saturday.
The Election Commission said more than three million people out of 8.8 million managed to cast their vote on Saturday and that on Sunday it had sent sufficient ballot papers and deployed officials to cover for 401 polling stations where people could not vote because of attacks and irregularities the previous day.
Ali Reza Rohani, a spokesman for the Electoral Complaints Commission, said in a news conference on Sunday that the irregularities that took place on Saturday would “damage the transparency” of the elections.
He said biometric devices, put in place to curb fraud, could not work in some stations, including Kabul, and various stations had not received the list of voters who had registered months ago for the ballot.
He said some stations opened an hour late.
The election is seen as key for Afghanistan’s political stability and legitimacy.
The government had already announced that polls could not take place in more than 2,000 voting stations because of security threats.
The Taliban staged scores of attacks on Saturday in a number of provinces including Kabul where at least 18 people died in two strikes. Unofficial estimates showed that over 70 civilians were killed and more than 300 wounded.
The casualties and irregularities were both unprecedented compared to election-related problems and violence that had happened in all of the previous rounds of elections held since the Taliban’s ouster.
Transparent Election Foundations of Afghanistan (TEFA), a polls watchdog, in its latest finding while citing the irregularities, said it could not operate fully to observe the process on Saturday because of security threats and because it was barred by the election commission and government from having access to election centers.
“It created many challenges for TEFA’s observers, for instance, 65 percent of our female observers left the polling centers because of security reasons, and unavailability of cellular connections in some of the provinces,” it said in a statement.
“In 29 percent of the polling centers, our observers were not allowed by IEC workers, security forces and armed men to observe the counting process.”