The force commander for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the disputed region of Abyei (UNISFA), Major General Mehari Zewde Gebremariam has strongly condemned the “unprovoked” attack by a group of unknown armed men at peacekeepers providing security at the Amiet market. The attack, UNISFA said in a statement, left an Ethiopian soldier dead and another critically wounded, while five other people who included two women and an eight months child reportedly died. The incident also had several cattle allegedly rustled by the attackers.
“I am deeply concerned that peacekeepers who are working day and night to enable people to carry out their normal business activities at the Amiet market would come under any form of attack,” said General Mehari.
He warned that any attack on peacekeepers constitutes war crime and perpetrators would be held accountable if apprehended. The force commander called on all the communities in Abyei to respect the arms free status of Abyei and warned against activities that are capable of further fuelling conflict within the Abyei box.
General Mehar, however, reaffirmed UNISFA’s commitment to continue working with all communities within Abyei box and seeks the cooperation and support of every person within the Abyei box to enable the mission to carry out its mandated task of providing security for the people and protection of civilians.
On 27 June 2011, the Security Council, by its resolution 1990, responded to the urgent situation in Abyei by establishing the UNISFA. UNISFA’s establishment came after Sudan’s government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) reached an agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to demilitarise Abyei and let Ethiopian troops monitor the area.