Violence in Sudan’s Abyei forces thousands to flee

More than 15 000 people have fled Sudan’s Abyei region to Agok in the south after the northern army seized the disputed area, United Nations officials said on Tuesday.

North Sudan’s army moved tanks into the main town of the oil-producing border region after weeks of tensions, leading to looting and burning by armed groups that forced residents to flee, UN officials said.

South Sudan said the seizure of Abyei was a ploy by Khartoum to provoke war and derail secession by the oil-rich south, due in July. Southerners voted to split from the north in a January referendum agreed under a 2005 peace deal.

North Sudan says it sent in troops to clear out southern soldiers who it said had broken agreements by entering the area.

UN spokesperson Hua Jiang in Sudan’s southern city of Juba said about 20 000 people had arrived in or around Agok, a town just across the border. Other UN officials put the number of refugees at more than 15 000.

“We cannot give exact figures,” said Jiang, adding that a UN team was still trying to assess the situation.

The UN said a team of its experts and aid groups visited Agok on Monday to assess the situation and estimate the number of refugees there, but gunfire erupted in the town while they were meeting local officials and the mission was cut short.

Fertile land
Khartoum has defied calls by the UN Security Council and world powers to withdraw its forces from Abyei, which also has fertile grazing land.

Analysts fear north-south fighting over Abyei could reignite a full blown conflict in Africa’s largest country, a move that could have a devastating impact on the surrounding region.

Both Sudan’s mostly Muslim north and the south, where most follow Christian and traditional beliefs, claim the fertile, oil-producing Abyei border region. Ownership was not settled in the peace deal that ended decades of civil war.

Abyei remains the most contentious point in the build-up to the secession of the south, where 75% of the country’s 500 000 barrels a day oil production comes from.

Southerners overwhelmingly voted for independence in the January referendum. The 2005 peace deal also promised Abyei residents their own referendum over whether to join the north or south, but that never took place as neither side could agree who was qualified to vote. — Reuters


Workers fight job-creation ‘mess’

Former Ekurhuleni workers argued in court that a programme promising to equip them with skills simply acted as a labour broker for the municipality

Court dissolves local municipality

Landmark judgment paves the way for South Africans to use legal system to hold councils responsible

Mabuza’s ‘distant relative’ scored big

Eskom’s woes are often because of boiler problems at its power plants. R50-billion has been set aside to fix them, but some of the contracts are going to questionable entities

ANC faction gunning for Gordhan

The ambush will take place at an NEC meeting about Eskom. But the real target is Cyril Ramaphosa

Press Releases

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.

Innovate4AMR now in second year

SA's Team pill-Alert aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance by implementing their strategic intervention that ensures patients comply with treatment.

Medical students present solution in Geneva

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were selected to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance to an international panel of experts.