The Sudanese army reacted angrily to the announcement by the United Nations peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy yesterday in which he said that the world body intends to redeploy peacekeepers in the south to Abyei and other hotspots along the north-south border ahead of the referendum to create limited buffer zones.
On Friday an unnamed UN official told Reuters that as of yesterday, the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) “significantly increased its troop presence in the Abyei area”.
The South Sudan referendum is required by a 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the 21-year civil war between Sudan’s predominantly Arab and Muslim north and rebels in the largely Christian-animist south.
Preparations for the January 9 vote have proceeded haltingly amid political and logistical obstacles, and the southerners have accused the northerners of stalling, warning of violence if the referendum is delayed.
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