Source: Reuterspagan2.jpg

Pagan Amum, secretary general of the southern Sudan People's Liberation Movement , told reporters northern troops were building up around the remote central town, with southern troops likely to follow.

Amum said the way to avoid a full-scale conflict was for all troops to leave the town, to be replaced by a U.N. peacekeeping force or, eventually, joint north-south military units.

"We are on the brink of war as we speak. Clashes have already happened and forces are building up," he said before a news conference in Khartoum.

Sudan has witnessed sporadic, sometimes fierce fighting in recent weeks in the Abyei region, which is claimed by both Khartoum and the southern government.

Some 21 northern Sudanese army soldiers and an unknown number of southerners were killed last week in fighting that followed a week of skirmishes sparked by a local dispute. The clashes have displaced tens of thousands of people.

A two-decade-long civil war fought by Sudan's government and southern rebels and complicated by issues of ethnicity, ideology and oil ended with a 2005 peace deal and a coalition government formed by the SPLM and the northern National Congress Party


But ties have been strained by the failure to agree on borders or a local government for Abyei. At stake are a nearby oil pipeline and installations that produce around half of Sudan's daily output of 500,000 barrels of oil, and grazing grounds and territory coveted by northerners and southerners.

Amum said northern government forces had been building up positions close to the town since last week's heavy clashes.

"I'm sure this will get a response from the SPLA," he added, referring to the armed wing of the SPLM -- now the army of Sudan's semi-autonomous southern government.

Amum said the south was doing all it could to avoid war. "For us, war is not an option ... Moving forces out of the area is the most important step now," he said.

"The only logical common sense is to demilitarise the area, deploy U.N. forces into the area, then after that we can proceed to deploy fresh joint integrated forces into the area."

"If the parties cannot agree to form a joint administration, let there be an international administration," he said.

Amum accused northern forces of starting the clashes to clear the area's population and claim the land as their own.

" might have thought they could find a final solution to the problem of Abyei by replacing the population of Abyei."

He said the SPLM condemned "this barbaric act" by the Sudan government. "This was an act perpetrated by SAF (northern Sudan Armed Forces) under the direct leadership and command of the National Congress Party," Amum said.

Didiri Mohamed Ahmed, the NCP official in charge of Abyei, said he would not respond to Amum's comments ahead of a meeting of military officers and senior officials from both the north and south, due to take place in Khartoum on Tuesday.

He said he was also waiting for the results of a U.N.-led investigation into who sparked the latest clashes in Abyei. "When we know the culprit, hopefully both sides will have the courage to take the culprit to account," he added.

Sudan's ruling party last week denied southern accusations Khartoum was sending more troops to Abyei.


Please login to comment

People in this conversation

  • Where is the commander in cheif the President Salva Kir ? Why he dosen't speak? or he dosen't want to take responsibility? Or because things are not clear? So if it comes to worst, and war break out again the Secretary General will be held accountable in Sudanese public eye rather than the president !!. I think Mr Secretary need to watch out for the sensitivitely of the situation, So He will not find himself at the end of the day as an escape goat to escape others from their resposibilites!! The president must speaks first than people quote him.

    0 Like
  • Guest - John Lwong

    Dear brothers,
    we are really in a big problem having accept to be led by a coward leader who fear even his own shadow how do we expect him to speak on a problem that will even risk his own life?
    Let leave him alone one day one time we shall have a leader who will be dully elected by his people to lead them

    0 Like
  • Guest - Jwothab Othow

    One thing, we should know that any time Secretary General Mr. Pagan Amum is speaking to the media; he has the mandate from his party the SPLM to speak on half of his party. As a secretary general he has every right to address the serious issues such as Abyei issue that could take the country back to war again. What Mr. Pagan has proposed to the National Congress Party (NCP) is the only way to avoid the military confrontation in area between the SPLA and SAF in Abyei region as we have seen two weeks ago. I think what the SPLM has proposed is good idea that let both SPLM and the NCP form a joint administration in Abyei and allow the UN Peace keeping force be on the ground in Abyei until the SPLM and the NCP find the common ground to resolve Abyei dispute. Abyei issue is very difficult issue that could take the country back to war. It is very clear that the National Congress Party is not interesting to accept the recommendations that were issued by Abyei commission in 2005 as a solution to Abyei dispute but the NCP has rejected the recommendations. Everybody knows that South Sudan and Northern Sudan can go back to war at any time because the NCP does not really want to implement the peace agreement. Maybe Salva Kiir himself has given him go head to speak on half of the SPLM party. So, I don’t think there is any thing wrong for Mr. Pagan Amum speaking out on the situation in Abyei publicly given that he is the secretary general for the SPLM party.

    0 Like
  • Let me be clear about what I meant. I know Mr.Secretary General HAS MANDATE to speak no doubt nor I am not against him speaking.

    But if we go back to track the Records since the death of Dr,John Garang De Mobior stating with issue of SPLA flag,Department of Energy controverisal, SPLM pull from national government, and current crisis He has demonstrated an outstanding leadership.But at the same time He has been introduced as the very figure who is anti north, that why I thought of finding an equation somewhere to balance the outcome. And we don't know may be people will vote for unity who know?

    That why I thought it was necessary to the President to speak out and by that we can make sure that the subordinates are not the only people taking the heat and unawar citizens will not have a chance to pick on innoncent guys while leaving the person responsible free.

    Because if the situation continue at the same tone, in my judgment it may be like Dr. Lam Ajwain in Foreign Minister where He was runnung his job according to CPA and the southerners view him as an implementer of Arab policy which is not true to me because the government is for both parties SPLM / NCP.

    In case of Pagan he will be viewed by Northerners as a danger figure to unity of Sudan.

    When I look to these two cases I think there is a mechanism some where to expose the potential rivals to situation where they lose their credibility.

    That the very reason I statred my comment not because i don't want the Secreatry to Speak ! Thank every body !!

    0 Like
  • Guest - Sabino Diok

    I think Abyei should not take us back to the war. Our leaders should not mix things up; they know that Abyei has a separate protocol. Yes, we believe that people of Abyei are our people, that is why we are trying our best to let Abyei be part of the south Sudan again. On the other, people of Abyei should blame themselves for what they did in the past. They are the ones who choose by their free will to be part of the north instead of the south. So in my opinion, our leaders must follow the CPA protocol concerning Abyei to be implemented. If we ask ourselves this question: why the SPLA/M negotiators agreed at the peace accord to come out with a separate protocol for Abyei? I think because they knew that Abyei could be a real problem in order to reach an agreement with the NCP; so they prepared that the Abyei’s problem should be resolved separately. Accordingly, the SPLM leadership should not get out from that direction if they really want peace for the south, although in Abyei now the things on the ground are very worst. But, the SPLA/M leadership should be aware enough and do not give the NCP an opportunity to drag us back to the war. I don’t see any reason or logic that Abyei is a big problem that could lead south to the war again. Let’s take the wisdom from the Bible, it says in Ecclesiastes 3: 3 ‘A time to kill and a time to heal….”. 3: 8 “… a time for war and a time for peace”. Tthis is the time for healing the nation, a time for peace not for war, and God bless our nation.

    0 Like