Tensions rise in Abyei as troop build-up sparks protests

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Residents of an area claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan are protesting against a local build-up of troops. Abyei is located at the border between the two countries and has seen a recent rise in soldiers in the area.

Since 2011 security for the area has been provided by the United Nations.

Residents of Abyei are urging the governments of both Sudan and South Sudan to withdraw their troops from the area.
Abyei is rich in oil and has witnessed an increase in intercommunal violence in the past 18 months.

The region is administered jointly by both countries, but security is provided by the United Nations.

The fighting among the community members is over the control of revenue collected in a local market.

South Sudan’s government says it deployed its troops to separate the two conflicting communities and created a buffer zone to quell the violence.

Residents of Abyei claim that South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) are currently in the southern part of the town.

They say the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) are in the north, in a place called Diffra.

Residents say the presence of those troops has not ended the fighting.  They say more senior government officials including the deputy chief administrator of the area were killed despite the troops’ presence in the area.

Many residents are urging the United Nations interim security force for Abyei to take full charge of security in the area.

Reporting by Patrick Oyet in Juba, South Sudan