Abyei civil society demands withdrawal of SSPDF, SAF
A section of the civil society in the Abyei Administrative Area, a contested area between South Sudan and Sudan, on Sunday took to the streets demanding the immediate withdrawal of South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) and Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) from the area.
Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Monday, an activist, Rau Manyuiel Rau, said the SSPDF deployed last year in Majak Kol near Aneet and Agok. In contrast, SAF deployed north of Abyei town.
“We have come out openly in a demonstration and our demands are written in a petition. Abyei is a dematerialized area and there should be no forces inside but we there has a large entrance of forces from Sudan and South Sudan inside the Abyei’s Box,” Rau said. “We do not want the presence of the army inside the area because it will lead to violence between the two countries. We need the forces to return to their respective areas.”
According to Rau, the forces from the neighboring countries are looting the properties of civilians and are causing problems in Abyei.
“The presence of the soldiers inside the box is causing problems, they are looting people and at the same time when the SAF advance, the SSPDF also moves forward,” he said. “Everyone is aware that in the south of Abyei, there has been a problem between the Twic from Warrap and Ngok for over a year and this led to the deployment of SSPDF to create a buffer zone and these soldiers are now moving inside Annet and Agok while SAF is moving in from the north in Difar and Thon.”
When contacted, SSPDF Spokesperson Major General Lul Ruai dismissed the presence of the army inside Abyei Box.
“We have forces deployed south of the Abyei box especially after clashes erupted between Ngok Dinka and armed youth from Twic,” he said. “We deployed a battalion from the unified forces to create a buffer zone. We do not have forces within Abyei box.”