Abyei authorities blame soaring food prices on fighting

The latest spate of conflicts in Abyei Administrative Area is to blame for the soaring food prices in the local market, authorities have said.

The latest spate of conflicts in Abyei Administrative Area is to blame for the soaring food prices in the local market, authorities have said.

On Thursday, the authorities said the sharp rise in food prices is as a result of the perennial conflicts between Twic armed youth and an armed youth from the Abyei area.

Chol Kuol Miyen, Secretary of Abyei Chamber of Commerce, told Radio Tamazuj Thursday the conflict in the neighbouring Sudan had equally fuelled the hard economic situation in the area.

“There are commodities in the market but there is also high prices and this is caused by high taxation on the road from Juba to Abyei, traders are heavily taxed, a 25-metric ton was taxed at Five million South Sudanese Pounds and this has now shot up to eight million South Sudanese Pounds,” he said.

On Wednesday, a 50 kilograms of maize flour sold at SSP55,000 and up from SSP 48,000 the previous week. This is an increase of SSP7, 000. A 25kg bag of maize flour sells at SSP28, 000 up from SSP24, 000. A 90-kg sack of dura orb sorghum sells at SSP75, 000 up from SSP55, 000.

This is despite efforts by the state government and the local branch of chamber of commerce recent distribution of subsidized sorghum, Kuol explained.

Kuol said that Sudanese civil war has massively contributed to the rise in prices of commodities in Abyei.

“The problem in Sudan affects prices of commodities in Abyei. Since Sudan experienced crop failure in the last planting season, we expect prices to continue going up. Dura will even reach SSP100,000 this year because there is none in the markets in Sudan,” he said further.

A litre of petrol sells at SSP1,800 and if you multiple by 20 litre will cost SSP36,000.

The business union secretaries Chol Kuol there are no supplies from Sudan save for onions and a sack costs SSP2, 030 up from the previous SSP 1,020.

He said the market had not received any onion supplies are from Kasala and Shendi for two days because of fighting in Rabek and White Nile areas in Sudan.

Abyei Information Minister Bulis Koch says, “The prices are not extremely bad there are some commodities in Amiet market because goods from Juba are transported to Sudan because we supply biscuits, maize flour and sugar. Traders in El Obeid buy these goods immediately. That is why South Sudanese should seize this opportunity to benefit from business as Sudanese benefited from us when we were in crises.”

Koch blamed fight at borders which he said was caused by Twic armed youth cited that the economic path is for South Sudan not Abyei and Twic communities.

“Supply of goods stopped flowing from Wau to Abyei on 25 December last year. This route connects South Sudan and Sudan through Abyei and it does not belong to either Abyei nor Twic, instead it belongs to all South Sudanese.  The conflict in Abyei was about the border between Sudan and South Sudan but it has changed to highway robberies and looting of traders goods,” he said.

Early last year, series of fighting happened along the borders of Abyei and Twic counties in Warrap State.

The bloody skirmishes involving youths from both sides affected movement of commercial trucks from Juba to Abyei through Twic County.

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