May 21, 2023 (ABYEI) – The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) has issued a strong condemnation following the looting of UNISFA civilian transport contracted trucks by Abyei youths. .
The incident involved looting four UNISFA civilian transport contracted trucks carrying seven UNISFA sea containers, including one container that held personal effects belonging to the Ghanaian Battalion (GHANBATT) serving with UNISFA. The incident occurred near Baton, located approximately 21 kilometres south of Abyei town.
Due to the prevailing security situation in Sudan, UNISFA leadership decided to conduct troop rotations via the ‘Entebbe-Wau-Abyei’ route, instead of the previously used ‘Entebbe-Kadugli-Abyei’ route. As a result, the personal belongings of GHANBATT-1 were prepared for road transportation through Wau to Entebbe.
UNISFA followed the necessary procedures, including contacting the South Sudan National Monitors for convoy road clearance for the four trucks carrying the seven UNISFA containers. However, on 16 May 2023, the convoy was halted by Abyei youths, who inspected the cargo and demanded additional paperwork despite being presented with all the required documentation. Despite their compliance, the youths denied passage to the trucks and diverted the convoy to another location. At this alternate location, the personal effects of the GHANBATT contingent were offloaded and subsequently looted.
In response to the incident, UNISFA has launched an investigation to identify those responsible and make efforts to retrieve the looted items. The mission strongly condemns the act of looting and considers it an act of brigandage by the Abyei youths. UNISFA appeals to the Abyei youths to redirect their energies toward partnering with the mission in order to ensure that Abyei remains free from all forms of criminal activities.
UNISFA reiterates its unwavering commitment to its mandated task of maintaining an arms-free Abyei Box and affirms its capability to protect all law-abiding members of the community. The mission appeals for support and cooperation from the community in order to fulfil its responsibilities effectively.