At least 32 people have been killed in attacks over the disputed oil rich Abiye region between Sudan and South Sudan. Those killed include women, children, and a peacekeeper.
Local media reports say the attacks were carried out by armed militias and soldiers wearing South Sudanese army uniforms.
“During these attacks, 32 people were killed, including children and women burnt to death in their huts, and more than 20 people were injured,” Bulis Koch Aguar Ajith, Minister of Information for Abiye and South Sudanese spokesman for the region, said in a statement.
“A UNIFSA (United Nations Interim Security Force for Abye) soldier was killed and another wounded”, he added in the statement, without giving further details.
Intensified calls for a probe
South Sudan has called for an urgent investigation into these “barbaric attacks on civilians”.
Located between Sudan and South Sudan, the Abiye region has been a flashpoint since the South gained independence in 2011.
Earlier this month, a UN regional envoy expressed fears that fighting between rival factions vying for power in Sudan was moving closer to the border with South Sudan and Abiye.
Hanna Tetteh, the UN’s special envoy for the Horn of Africa said the proximity of the fighting to Abiye risks destabilising this already fragile region.
She added that the ongoing crisis in Sudan has “effectively suspended” talks between the two countries on this long-disputed territory.
In Sudan, the conflict that broke out on April 15 between the head of the army, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, and his deputy-turned-rival, General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, left more than 10,000 people dead.
The UN Security Council voted unanimously this month to extend the 12-year-old peacekeeping mission in Abiye, which currently has 4,000 troops.