sponsored by

Southern Sudan leader: 'We will not go back to war'

Send a link to a friend

[May 26, 2011]  JUBA, Sudan (AP) -- The president of Southern Sudan said Thursday he will not return the south to war with the Khartoum-based north even as a second official said the north is moving thousands of Arab tribesmen into southern villages that residents have fled out of fear.

HardwarePresident Salva Kiir said the south has "fought enough" and that now is the time for peace.

The north-south border zone region of Abyei was taken over by northern Sudanese troops over the weekend, causing tens of thousands of civilians to flee southward.

Southern Sudan breaks away from the north on July 9, but both regions claim Abyei, a fertile land that has oil.

The latest skirmish began last week after southern troops attacked northern and U.N. forces. Kiir said that attack was a misunderstanding and called the north's invasion an "overreaction." He said the south will eventually reclaim Abyei, though he couldn't say if it would be next week or next year. The fighting that began last Thursday threatened to unravel a 2005 peace deal and re-ignite a civil war that left more than 2 million people dead.

"We will not go back to war, it will not happen," Kiir said. "We are committed to peace."

The south's minister of information, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said after Kiir spoke that the northern army is moving thousands of Misseriya tribesmen into villages that belong to the Ngok Dinka, a southern tribe. A Sudan expert in the United States said the north is forcibly taking over Abyei.

[to top of second column]

"The ultimate strategy is to ethnically cleanse Abyei, similar to what the regime has done in parts of Darfur," said John Prendergast, co-founder of the advocacy group the Enough Project. "The international community must respond with more than appeals for calm and mild reproaches. The time has come for serious consequences for the commission of war crimes, or they will continue."

A U.N. spokesman, Martin Nesirky, said Abyei has been badly damaged by looting. Buildings have also been set on fire there.

[Associated Press; By KATHARINE HOURELD]

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor