Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thousands flee fighting in disputed Sudan border region

Tensions remained high Thursday as the president of the Southern Sudanese government demanded an immediate withdrawal of Sudanese armed forces that continue to occupy the disputed oil-rich Abyei border region.

On Wednesday, a team of U.N. officials patrolled the area to assess the extent of the destruction after nearly a week of fighting, pillaging and looting by government-backed militias. Homes and vehicles smoldered, and Abyei was a virtual ghost town except for the armed men walking in the street.

"I am calling upon my president, President Omar al-Bashir, to pull out his force from Abyei," said Salva Kiir, president of Southern Sudan, to allow displaced residents to return home and humanitarian organizations to deliver assistance.

Tens of thousands of people from the population of 110,000 have been forced to flee over the border into Southern Sudan, a U.N. official said on condition of anonymity. "Civilians have deserted Abyei town and surrounding areas."

The latest satellite images released by the Satellite Sentinel Project show purported evidence of Sudanese tanks and amored vehicles in and around Abyei, and a southern-aligned base at Todach is destroyed, allegedly by northern troops. (read more)