UN condemns harassment of its peacekeepers in Southern Kordofan

17 June, 2011 (UNMIS MMR)

UN News Center - The United Nations today strongly condemned the detention and abuse by the Sudanese armed forces of four UN peacekeepers who were on patrol in Kadugli, the main town in Southern Kordofan, where fighting is raging between the northern and southern armies.

The harassment of the peacekeepers was blamed on members of the northern army known as the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters in New York.

“The Sudanese Armed Forces, the [southern] Sudan People’s Liberation Army [SPLA] and other armed groups must immediately stop intimidating and harassing UN staff, who are critical to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance to the vulnerable populations,” said Mr. Nesirky.

He said security and the humanitarian situation in Southern Kordofan remained of very serious concern amid intermittent fighting, shelling and military build-up in various areas of the state.

In the other disputed area of Abyei, the UN peacekeeping Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) confirmed that six shells fired by SAF earlier today landed 150 metres away from an UNMIS base in Agok. There is no report of casualties.

“We are in the process of verifying the details, as the SAF is claiming the shelling was part of an exercise, while the SPLA is stating that the SAF shelling was targeting SPLA positions and intimidating the local population around Agok. It remains to be determined precisely what happened,” said the UN spokesperson.

“Both sides must stop military actions, which are not only a threat to the UN in the area but to the local populations in the area,” he added.

Yesterday, a UNMIS team landing in Magennes – a contested area along the border of Upper Nile and Southern Kordofan states – was briefly detained by Government of Sudan police. The UNMIS team was accompanied by two members of the United Kingdom and United States consulates in Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan.

According to the Government of Sudan officials in the area, the flight did not have the requisite landing authorization, although UNMIS had obtained flight clearances from the Government of Southern Sudan in Juba. The entire team was released and returned to Malakal in Upper Nile state and no one was harmed in the incident.


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