Six dead in oil-rich area in dispute between Sudan and South Sudan | News


The oil-rich region experiences frequent episodes of violence by rival factions of an ethnic group in both countries.

Six people, including a senior local administrator, were killed in an ambush by gunmen in the Abyei region, claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan, local officials said.

The oil-rich region experiences frequent bouts of violence, where rival factions of the Dinka ethnic group – Twic Dinka from neighboring Warrap state in South Sudan, and Ngok Dinka from Abyei – are locked in a dispute over the location of an administrative border.

Abyei deputy chief administrator Noon Deng and his team were attacked along the road from Abyei to Aneet town as they returned from an official visit to Rummamer county, where they were celebrating the New Year, government officials said.

“His driver, two bodyguards and two members of national security were killed,” Tereza Chol, a South Sudanese lawmaker, told Reuters news agency.

Bulis Koch, information minister of the Abyei Administrative Area, blamed the Sunday night attack on armed youths from Warrap County in Twic and said the bodies had not been recovered as of Monday morning.

His counterpart in Warrap, William Wol, said it was still early to “point fingers”.

This is the latest incident in the region, where dozens of people were killed in ethnic clashes in November.

Abyei, straddling an ill-defined border between Sudan and South Sudan, has been claimed by both countries since Juba declared independence from Khartoum in 2011.

It has a special administrative status, governed by an administration made up of officials appointed by both countries.

South Sudan erupted into civil war shortly after independence, pitting President Salva Kiir and his allies against his Vice President Riek Machar. A peace deal signed in 2018 largely holds, but the transitional government has been slow to unify the military’s various factions.

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