Sudan pulls police from troubled border region | News | DW | 01.06.2012
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Sudan pulls police from troubled border region

Sudan's army has said it has withdrawn its police forces from the disputed border region Abyei. Both Sudan and South Sudan have claimed the oil-rich region as their own, sparking clashes.

The official Sudanese news agency, SUNA, quoted military spokesman Colonel Sawarme Khalid Saad on Friday as saying Sudan's 169-strong police force had withdrawn from Abyei.

The move was a U-turn on an announcement made hours earlier by the military spokesman.

Saad told the official Radio Ombdurman that the police force would remain in the region to protect oil fields claimed by Sudan.

South Sudanresponded Friday saying the announcement was in open defiance of a UN Security Council resolution which had demanded that all forces be withdrawn from the area.

It said it had filed a complaint to UN Security Council calling for more sanctions against Sudan over the continued presence of Sudanese police and repeated air strikes against its territory.

"The complaint makes it clear that while [South Sudan] has complied fully with each of the demands [on Abyei] ... the government of Sudan has not reciprocated and continues to be blatantly in violation of the UN Security Council's demands," South Sudan's government said in a statement.

Violent clashes

The ownership of Abyei has been a key point of contention between Sudan and neighboring South Sudan.

Clashes over oil revenues and their ill-defined border broke out in April, nearly triggering an all-out war.

South Sudan was first to pull its troops out of Abyei, in line with the UN resolution, followed by Sudan which withdrew its soldiers this week.

Now that Sudanese police forces have also withdrawn, a UN peacekeeping mission comprised of Ethiopian troops is in charge of maintaining Abyei's security.

ccp/mz (AP, Reuters)