South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Monday named his National Security Affairs Advisor Tut Gatlak to head a committee to dialogue with Sudan over the disputed Abyei area.
South Sudan’s Minister of East African Affairs Deng Alor Kuol, an Abyei native, has been nominated deputy. They are joined by three others who are members of the National Legislative Assembly.
In line with the decree, the following members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party were appointed. They are James Deng Lual, Assa Abas Akuei, Majur Babur Ajang, Luka Monoja, Deng Biong Mijak, and Kom Kom Geng.
The committee was necessitated due to an attack on residents of Dunguop community in Abyei town. According to the area deputy administrator, it left eleven persons dead and many others wounded.
The committee is expected to make monthly progress reports. Abyei is a disputed border town between Sudan and South Sudan. Both countries are yet to agree on the flow of the border since secession of South Sudan from Sudan in 2011.
Last year, the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) warned of the possibility of renewed hostilities in spite of the ongoing peace efforts in the area.
Although civil society groups stated that the sustained attacks, occasional violence, and cattle rustling incidents in the area were mostly because the UN forces did not counter the attacks, UNISFA was deployed in June 2011 to protect civilians under looming threats of violence, and protect the area from incursions miscreants.
The UNISFA headquartered in Abyei town operates in three Sectors –Sector North,Diffra Sector Central Abyei town and Sector South in Athony.
Abyei hosts 3,550 soldiers, 640 police officers, including 148 individual police officers and three police units. As is tradition with most blue helmets, they are non-combat troops meant to defend civilians and prevent occurrence of violence.