UN chief deeply concerned over attacks, counterattacks in southern Sudan

September 6, 2009 9:57 pm 

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 7 — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Sunday voiced his deep concern at the string of attacks and counterattacks in southern Sudan, and called upon all groups to settle their differences through peaceful means.

A statement, issued by Ban's spokesperson here, said: "The secretary-general is deeply concerned over the string of attacks and counterattacks in south Sudan and the killing and displacement of innocent civilians."

An attack on a southern Sudan village has left 24 people dead, including a tribal chief, his three wives and several children, while dozens were wounded, a newspaper reported Saturday.

The incident was the latest in a rising wave of tribal violence in south Sudan that has killed more than 2,000 people, including many women and children, reports said.

"The secretary-general calls on all groups to find peaceful means of settling their differences," the statement said.

"He also calls on the government of South Sudan to re-double its efforts to ensure the protection of civilians and to work with UNMIS and the United Nations Country Team in strengthening security mechanisms, resolving the root causes of the tensions and addressing the humanitarian situation," the statement said.

UNMIS stands for the United Nations Mission in the Sudan, set up by the UN Security Council in March 2005 to support implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed by the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/ Army on Jan. 9, 2005.

"Abatement of violence and intertribal reconciliation in the south are vital to the forthcoming elections in 2010 and the subsequent referendum in 2011," Ban said in the statement.

The flare-up among southern tribes has its roots in territorial claims or cattle theft. The violence is separate from the six-year- old conflict between rebels and government forces in Darfur in western Sudan.

Last week, an attack by Lou-Nuer tribesmen on another Dinka village in the south's Twic East County left 46 people dead and 15 severely wounded, according to UN reports. (PNA/Xinhua)

ALM/ebp

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