Juba: Women and children fled en masse
from a disputed flashpoint town between north and south Sudan
after fighting this week killed more than 100 people,
officials said on Thursday.
Abyei has long been seen as the major sticking point
between the north and south, which voted to secede in January
and is on course to become the world`s newest country in July.
Abyei had been promised a separate self-determination
vote, but its future is now being negotiated by officials from
the north and south.
"Now all the women and children have evacuated the town.
They have moved south because they expect more fighting in the
town," said Father Peter Suleiman, a Catholic priest who spoke
to a news agency by phone from Abyei town on this
Col. Philip Aguer, the spokesman for Southern Sudan`s
military, said more than 70 people were killed in fighting
between Sunday and Tuesday. Aguer said that armed members of
the Arab cattle-herding Misseriya tribe, militia fighters and
northern army forces attacked several villages north of the
town of Abyei.
Aguer said the southern government blames the north`s
Sudanese Armed Forces and the government of Sudan President
Omar al-Bashir for the violence.
"The attackers have occupied many villages north of Abyei
and maybe their intent is to move southward so this is why
people are fleeing," Aguer said.