Sudan’s joint units arrive to Abyei

June 18, 2008 (ST)

After two days of delay, military units from northern and southern Sudan armies arrived today to the Abyei following last week deal to end a three year row to delimit the border of contested area.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) troops arrived today to the area where they will form a new battalion with Sudan Armed Forces units. The 640 stronghold battalion will be the sole military force in Abyei.

Under the terms of Abyei roadmap agreement signed on June 8, SAF and SPLA have to withdraw their troops out of Abyei while the JIUs with the UNMIS peacekeepers will deploy in the disputed.

On Tuesday, seven UN flights airlifted 320 SPLA troops from Juba to Wau. After an overnight stay, the troops boarded an UNMIS truck convoy at 6.30 a.m. this morning and continued overland to Abyei.

SAF has transported and deployed its JIU component into Abyei today, where they are to join SPLA in forming the new JIU battalion.

The SAF-SPLA units have to start on Thursday a ten-day training and then take position in the area to facilitated the return of around 50.000 people displaced by the fighting between the former SAF-SPLA units on May 20.

According to the roadmap to resolve difference over Abyei border, the parties agreed to form a joint interim administration. The Sudanese president issued on Sunday a presidential decree to establish Abyei administration which should be led by a SPLM named president, flanked by a NCP vice-president.

Juba didn’t submit the name of president who should be from Abyei. However, unconfirmed reports say that SPLM may re-conduct its former representative Edward Lino against whom the NCP carried a campaign accusing him of being the cause of last May’s fighting. But Lino’s appointment faces opposition from some SPLM leaders also.

By the end of this month the displaced people have to begin their return to their home.

The executive body has to "provide the necessary services including the resettlement of displaced persons and rehabilitation." Further it should initiate national reconciliation and promoting stability and peaceful coexistence." Says the 8 June deal.

Besides other ressources, the new administration Abyei will receive 2% of the net proceeds of the oil extracted from the area under arbitration in accordance with the Abyei Protocol.


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