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
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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.


At least 161 dead in northeast Congo in apparent ethnic clashes

Updated 17 June 2019
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At least 161 dead in northeast Congo in apparent ethnic clashes

  • A series of attacks in Ituri province has mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation
  • Open conflict between Hema and Lendu from 1999-2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in one of the bloodiest chapters of a civil war in eastern Congo

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo: At least 161 people have been killed in a northeastern province of Democratic Republic of Congo in the past week, local officials said on Monday, in an apparent resurgence of ethnic clashes between farming and herding communities.
A series of attacks in Ituri province has mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation, although the exact identity of the assailants remains murky.
Open conflict between Hema and Lendu from 1999-2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in one of the bloodiest chapters of a civil war in eastern Congo that left millions dead from conflict, hunger and disease.
Tit-for-tat attacks between the two groups in late 2017 and early 2018 killed hundreds of people and forced tens of thousands more to flee their homes, but a tenuous calm had taken hold until this month.
Pascal Kakoraki Baguma, a national lawmaker from Ituri, said the latest violence was sparked by the killing last Monday of four Lendu businesspeople.
“Members of the Lendu community believed that these assassinations were the work of the Hema,” Kakoraki said. “This is why they launched several attacks on Hema villages.”
“Sources affirm that 161 bodies have been found so far. But the death toll goes beyond the bodies recovered, as there were other massacres of civilians and police officers,” he said.
Jean Bosco Lalo, president of civil society organizations in Ituri, said 200 bodies had been found since last week in predominantly Hema villages, including the 161 mentioned by Kakoraki. Lalo said the toll would rise once his teams gained access to other villages where killings had been reported.
Ituri Governor Jean Bamanisa said provincial authorities were still working to establish the exact death toll and declined to say who was responsible.
He said the assailants’ tactics were to “empty out the villages, burn them and pursue those who had fled to the surrounding areas with bladed weapons.”
Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, who took office in January, is trying to restore stability to the country’s eastern borderlands, a tinderbox of conflict among armed groups over ethnicity, natural resources and political power.
Several rebel leaders have surrendered or been captured during his first months in office, but armed violence has persisted, particularly in North Kivu province, south of Ituri, which is the epicenter of a 10-month Ebola outbreak.