North-South Clash in Sudan Kills 12 in Disputed Abyei Region

Published on Tuesday 3rd May 2011

At least 12 people were killed after a northern Sudanese army convoy entered the contested north-south border region of Abyei, sparking clashes with southern police.Abyei's top administrator, Deng Arop Kuol, says the fighting broke out Sunday when a Sudanese army convoy entered Abyei despite efforts by southern police to stop them.Kuol said a dozen people were killed including a policeman.In comments to Reuters news agency, a northern minister blamed the clashes on police, saying that troops were just joining an internationally recognized north-south force in the area. Each side regularly accuses the other of sending large numbers of soldiers into the disputed region.The oil-rich Abyei region was a battleground during Sudan's 21-year north-south civil war.South Sudan voted overwhelmingly to split from the north in a January referendum that northern leaders have said they will accept.  However, the future of the Abyei region has yet to be resolved.Last week, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir warned his government would not recognize south Sudan as an independent state it it did not give up claims on Abyei.A scheduled referendum on which part of Sudan Abyei would join failed to happen, because the north and south could not agree on who was eligible to vote.



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