The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Martin Kimani (Kenya):
The members of the Security Council heard a briefing by the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations on the sharp deterioration of the situation regarding the presence of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) in Gok Machar, South Sudan.
The members of the Security Council expressed their grave concern over recent developments in Gok Machar, including threats to the safety and security of peacekeepers which resulted in the death of a peacekeeper from Ethiopia on 14 September 2021, undermining the ability of UNISFA to support the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM). The members of the Security Council noted that these recent threats followed the forced relocation, completed between 26 and 31 August 2021, of UNISFA troops and equipment from the JBVMM team site 11 in Safaha/Kiir Adem and team site 12 in As Sumayah/War Abar to the JBVMM Sector 1 Headquarters in Gok Machar due to the threats to the safety and security of peacekeepers.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support for UNISFA and expressed their continued concern that the full implementation of UNISFA’s mandate is being obstructed.
The members of the Security Council demanded the Government of South Sudan to facilitate the unimpeded implementation of UNISFA’s mandate, as described in resolution 2575 (2021), and provide full support to UNISFA’s personnel by removing any obstacles that hinder UNISFA’s work to protect civilians, including by ensuring the mission’s freedom of movement and by facilitating UNISFA’s provision of food, medicine and other supplies to its personnel.
The members of the Security Council also called on the Government of South Sudan to honour its obligations in accordance with resolutions 2518 (2020) and 2575 (2021) and under the Status of Forces Agreement with UNISFA.
The members of the Security Council underscored the important role of UNISFA and the JBVMM in support of achieving peace, security and stability in Abyei and the broader region, and urged the Government of South Sudan to intensify its mediation efforts with members of the local community in Gok Machar to reduce tensions and to provide for the redeployment of UNISFA personnel to team sites 11 and 12. The members further called on Sudan and South Sudan to convene a meeting of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM) to address the existing challenges and facilitate the work of the JBVMM.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the continued cooperation between the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan, which is critical for the peace, security and stability in Abyei and the broader region. Recalling resolution 2575 (2021), they reiterated their support for the African Union, the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel and the United Nations Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa in mediating with the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan.
Since December 2020 the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF), Amhara Paramilitary Group ‘Fano’ and Eritrean Defence Force (EDF) have all been spotted and attacked border points on Sudanese soil. They have gone after border points in and around Al-Fashqa region. The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) have been reported to retake these and stationed more soldiers there.
Just to prove the levels of insincerity from Addis Ababa towards Khartoum. The Sudanese Authorities even intercepted illegal arms export to the rebel outfit of SPLM-N in Blue Nile State. That is what they have been doing and shows how sinister the Tripartite Alliance in Ethiopia is at this current stage. As well, as doing what they have been doing on the border of Sudan and trying to annex Sudanese land.
Clearly, the Sudanese has taken this seriously and sent their Rapid Support Force (RSF) – Desert Shield Force to the borders .They have sent the ones who has tormented Darfur for ages. These folks are the ones who they trust to stop the Tripartite Alliance on the border. That says a lot about their will to defend their borders.
Now the Sudanese has taken it a further step and escalating it further, which is only natural.
Sudan Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Mahdi stated this yesterday:
““Sudan has requested the United Nations to replace the Ethiopian troops present in the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNIFSA) with peacekeepers from other countries,” Mariam Al-Mahdi added.“It is not conceivable to accept Ethiopian forces deployed in the strategic depth of Sudan while the Ethiopian troops are massing on the eastern borders of Sudan,” she said. The minister said that Sudan is now reviewing its relations and cooperation agreements with Ethiopia but stressed that this will not affect the Ethiopian residing in Sudan including refugees” (Koang Pal Chang – ‘Sudan wants Ethiopian peacekeepers out of Abyei’ 07.04.2021, Eye Radio).
When Addis Ababa have been as insincere and been as violent on the border. When they have used all the various alliances to go and attack Sudan. It is only natural that the sovereign state of Sudan doesn’t trust Ethiopian soldiers on their soil. When they have attacked them, illegally armed rebels and been dishonest about their skirmishes as well.
The Ethiopian authorities is calling the neighbours their brothers, but they are coming with weapons and soldiers. That is why the Sudanese see it as a danger to have the Ethiopians as Peacekeepers. That says how much the Ethiopians has destroyed their credibility or trust. The distrust now is shattered and the Khartoum administration only see it fit to “kick them” out.
What will also happen with the changes of Peacekeepers means that the Ethiopian state will not get the profits or the foreign currency for the UN services in Abyei. That is the second price of this. Not only are they demoted and sent home. The Ethiopian state will also loose funds by this action. That is the double strike against Addis Ababa.
The Sudanese authorities are in the right here. How can someone who attacks you on the regular and makes reasons for you to deploy the RSF and more SAF brigades on the borders. A trusted ally to create peace in one of their states. That doesn’t make sense and is a sensible reason to kick Ethiopia out. Peace.
Reports from the UN International Organization on Migration (IOM) “suggest that Government forces are now approaching the town of Maiwut, 25 kilometres north-west of Pagak”.
WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, July 13, 2017 – Thousands of South Sudanese civilians are fleeing to neighbouring Ethiopia as Government troops advance on a rebel stronghold in the Upper Nile region, a senior United Nations official today said, expressing grave concern about what is already the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis.
Reports from the UN International Organization on Migration (IOM) “suggest that Government forces are now approaching the town of Maiwut, 25 kilometres north-west of Pagak. I’m gravely concerned by this ongoing situation,” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in South Sudan, David Shearer, told reporters from Juba, the capital.
He added that while it is unclear which side began the fighting, the military advance by the South Sudan forces “is not in the spirit of the unilateral ceasefire” declared by the Government in May.
Mr. Shearer said there has been “active military engagement” over the past week north of Pagak, and at least 25 aid workers have relocated in the area as a result of the insecurity.
The senior UN official, who is also the head of the UN Mission in the country, or UNMISS, also voiced great concern about an orphanage near Torit, south of Juba, surrounded by Government and rebel fighters who are preparing to fight.
“It’s unacceptable that 250 innocent children, and the people who care for them, find themselves in no-man’s land between the warring parties,” Mr. Shearer stressed.
Requests by UNMISS to access the Hope for South Sudan Orphanage have been denied “locally, on the ground.”
The Government forces central command in Juba yesterday gave UNMISS “the go-ahead to send peacekeepers to the orphanage. I’m hopeful that will happen today,” he added.
Mr. Shearer urged both sides to reflect on President Salva Kiir’s Independence Day message of peace and withdraw from the facility.
In addition to accessing the orphanage, a group of Nepalese peacekeepers have been sent to protect civilians and the UN base in Torit.
“The number of patrols we can undertake in the town will increase with the additional peacekeepers. In turn, that should provide more security and boost confidence,” said Mr. Shearer.
He noted that his deputy, Moustapha Soumaré, is travelling to Torit tomorrow and will report back.
To date, Abyei has no police service system in place and there is no functioning joint local administrative structure.
ABYEI, South Sudan, July 12, 2017 – The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) condemns all attacks perpetrated by unknown armed groups in Abyei Area which resulted in deaths and injuries of civilians.
UNISFA expresses its deepest condolences and sympathy to the family of the victims and vows to investigate swiftly the attacks with the Joint Peace Committee, the traditional leaders, as well as Sudan and South Sudan governments, and bring the perpetrators to justice.
UNISFA emphasizes its commitment to implement its mandate to secure Abyei Area and to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, without prejudice to the responsibilities of the relevant authorities.
To date, Abyei has no police service system in place and there is no functioning joint local administrative structure. The absence of these systems has resulted in the increase of criminal cases.
The current influx of population in Abyei has contributed towards increased economic and social activities in the area. The unemployment among the youth is a cause of concern which also leads to manifestation of crime in various forms.
In light of the recent incidents, UNISFA has stepped up its security measures particularly in and around Amiet common market which is a vital economic hub for different tribal groups including Ngok Dinka and Misseriya. Most of the criminal incidents in recent months have taken place in the vicinity of the common market.
The last two months have seen an upsurge in cases of cattle-rustling, carjacking attempts and robbery/shooting incidents. In May, a grenade exploded in Amiet market resulting in injuries to some civilians.
UNISFA reaffirms that criminality in all its forms is a serious threat to the security situation in Abyei Area.
UNISFA urges all communities and groups to support the Mission in its efforts to maintain the degree of peace and stability that Abyei has been experiencing over the last two years. The criminal activities should not deter the significant progress made towards improving relations between the Messiriya and the Ngok Dinka communities.