Sudan militia kill five in flashpoint Abyei: official

Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:12pm GMT

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudanese Arab militia attacked a village in Abyei killing five people, adding to north-south tensions in the disputed oil-producing area, the top official in the region said on Tuesday.

On Monday the U.N. Security Council held a closed session on Abyei, a major bone of contention which could reignite decades of north-south conflict in Africa's largest country with reports of troops massing from both sides in the fertile area.

"It happened yesterday in the morning around 2 a.m. (11 GMT) in a village called Dungop," Abyei Chief Administrator Deng Arop told Reuters.

"Their intention is just to depopulate the area, to terrorise the civilians so that they leave," he said, accusing the Arab Missiriya tribe allied to the north of the attack.

Arop is from the pro-south Dinka Ngok tribe.

Hua Jiang, a spokeswoman from the U.N. peacekeeping mission confirmed the attack and casualties but could not say who the attackers were.

"Unknown armed men started shooting in the village and killed five people," she said.

Abyei was due to vote on January 9 on whether to join the north or south. Southerners chose to secede from the north in a separate referendum this year but Abyei's plebiscite stalled as the former north-south foes disagree on who ought to vote.

Deadly clashes centre in the south's main oil areas between south Sudan's army and militia have killed hundreds of people since the beginning of the year despite an amnesty called by the southern government for all armed rebels.   Continued...

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