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KHARTOUM - 8 May 2013

Sudan opposition coalition condemns Abyei attack

A coalition of Sudanese opposition parties, the Sudan National Consensus Coalition, have condemned the killing of Kuol Deng Kuol, the Dinka Ngok paramount chief, in Abyei last weekend.

The coalition’s leader, Farouk Abu-Issa, sent condolences to South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardit and the Dinka Ngok tribe, adding that Kuol’s death is a great loss to both nations.

He said that the killing took place at a critical stage in the process of striking further agreement on the future of Abyei and accused his government of being behind the incident.

Farukconsiders this an unlawful interference in the region, one that has damaged the area’s social and historical fabric and peaceful co-existence.  He further blamed Khartoum’s Abyei policy, accusing it of igniting conflict.

“All the previous leaders who ruled Sudan managed to sustain the good relationship between the all communities, but now there are people who are breaking it without fearing God and knowing the importance of peaceful co-existence between the two nations of South Sudan and Sudan. We are sending our condolences to president SalvaKiir on behalf of South Sudan and also people of northern Sudan because this man had a history which will not be forgotten in solving the problems created by the NCP system in the region,” stated Farouk.

Similarly, authorities in South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el-Ghazal state condemned the killing and highlighted its potential impact on the border region in general.

Adwok Asheir, the state minister for information and government spokesman, told Radio Tamazuj after a state cabinet meeting following the incident, that it didn’t affect just the residents of Abyei but the whole border region and strongly condemned the attack.

“The state government of Northern Bahr el-Ghazal is hereby sending its regretful condolence message to the people of Abyei, and to the family of Deng Majok in particular. The assassination of the chief really placed a great impact and sorrows amid the citizens of Northern Bahr el-Ghazal and this is why the government strongly condemns the assassination of the chief,” the minister reported.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese co-chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee refrained from accusations, instead calling on all parties to exercise restraint. In a statement to Radio Tamazuj, reiterating his condolences, Al-Fahim claimed that while this is a grave loss,all parties should take courage in working to overcome the incident.

“We are calling upon all people to keep restraint despite whatever people have to look forwards for the brilliant future of the region. We are sending our condolences to our brothers the Dinka Ngok and all the entire citizens of South Sudan. We are considering that we have lost a very dear brother because our relation with brother Kuol was very great than other people” Al-Fahim noted.

The attack on Saturday resulted in the deaths of two Ethiopian peacekeepers as well as a companion of the chief himself.  The Sudanese Foreign Ministry have also reported that 17 Misseriya fighters, widely accused of initiating the attack, were also killed.  Following a joint cooperation agreement on a number of border issues, the contested oil-rich Abyei region has been demilitarised by both national governments and the UN mission to the area, UNISFA, is now responsible for the protection of its civilians.

Photo: Farouk Abu Issa, leader of the National Consensus Forces (Radio Dabanga file)