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UN Peacekeepers dragged into South Sudan-Sudan border dispute

By Richard Sultan

Border dispute have been going on between South Sudan and Sudan since independence, and now the United Nations peacekeeping force has been dragged in.

Communities in South Sudan along the border are accusing UNISFA of conspiracy to grab their land and allocate it to Sudan.

The United Nations Interim Force for Abyei was deployed to create a buffer between feuding communities in the region, ensuring the safe demilitarized zones are respected by the two countries.

Protests have been going on by communities in Northern Bahr el Ghazal’s Aweil North and Aweil East counties.

The communities are accusing them of making land marks in Arabic, interpreting it as a way of trying to turn over their land to Sudan.

This week, South Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it deeply regretted the loss of life of a United Nations peacekeeper killed in Gok Machar during a demonstration by the local community against the UN troops deployed in the area.

 “The government expresses its condolences to the peace keeper as well as the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM) and the command of UNISFA,” the Ministry said.

Emails to UNISFA spokesperson Daniel Adekera were not responded to.

The buffer zone was created as a result of an agreement between Sudan and South Sudan to have a ten-mile area along the border where troops of each country are not allowed to operate.

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