SUDAN WATCH: On Sat Feb 6: Seven killed in clashes between SPLA & Messiriya in Abiemnom, Unity state, S. Sudan

Friday, February 19, 2010

On Sat Feb 6: Seven killed in clashes between SPLA & Messiriya in Abiemnom, Unity state, S. Sudan

On Tuesday, 9 February 2010, Sudan Army Forces (SAF) spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel al-Sawarmi Khalid denied that SAF had armed the Messiriya.

The spokesperson told SRS - Sudan Radio Service that: "It is illegal for the Messiriya to use SAF uniforms or equipment. There are Messiriya nomads who were recruited by the SPLA and they were given uniforms and military ranks and they started saying that they belonged to the SPLA and this caused a lot of problems".

SPLA spokesperson Kuol Diem Kuol also spoke to SRS about the attack. Mr. Kuol said that he thought the recent attack was a violent response on the part of the Messiriya to a civil disarmament campaign and that "the Messiriya want to come and graze by force in Unity State".

Full report here below.

Clashes Kill Eleven in Unity State
From SRS - Sudan Radio Service, Tuesday, 09 February 2010:
(Abyei/Khartoum/Juba) - Eleven people were killed during clashes between the SPLA and Messiriya tribesmen in Abiemnom county, in Unity state, last Saturday.

Speaking to SRS, community leader Bagat Makuec Abien accused the Sudan Armed Forces of arming the Messiriya.

[Bagat Makuec Abien]: “Eleven people have been killed. Eight soldiers and 3 civilians. The attackers of the SPLA camp were not nomads. They were militia from the Sudan Armed Forces.”

However, SAF spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel al-Sawarmi Khalid denied that SAF had armed the Messiriya.

[Al-Sawarmi Khalid]: “The Sudan Armed Force refute these allegations. You should know that the Messiriya is just a normal tribe and everything is okay, this is all about grazing among the Messiriya people in Unity state. This is just a small problem at community level and the Sudan Armed forces cannot get involved. It is illegal for the Messiriya to use SAF uniforms or equipment. There are Messiriya nomads who were recruited by the SPLA and they were given uniforms and military ranks and they started saying that they belonged to the SPLA and this caused a lot of problems.”

SPLA spokesperson Kuol Diem Kuol also spoke to SRS about the attack.

[Kuol Diem Kuol]: “Six SPLA and one civilian were killed. 11 people were wounded; among the wounded were 8 SPLA, 2 children and one lady. From the side of Messiriya 8 bodies were found on the ground. This morning, the situation was normal, there was no more violence.”

Mr. Kuol added that he thought the recent attack was a violent response on the part of the Messiriya to a civil disarmament campaign.

[Kuol Diem Kuol]: “The SPLA is still disarming the civil population in south Sudan. So when the Messiriya came with the cattle to Unity state in December they were told to leave their guns in Messiriya land and come to graze, but they refused, so they clashed with the police in December. And when the SPLA went in, they also fired at the SPLA, wounding one SPLA soldier. I think they attacked our base, the SPLA battalion headquarters in Warping in Abiemnom county in retaliation. They attacked on 8 January, they attacked again on 23 January and the third attack was on 4 February. The Messiriya want to come and graze by force in Unity State.”

Kuol Diem Kuol was speaking to SRS from Juba on Monday [Feb 8].

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