A spate of attacks in Abiye, a contested region between Sudan and South Sudan, has resulted in the deaths of 32 individuals, including women, children, and a peacekeeper, according to local officials.

The assaults, perpetrated on Sunday in two counties by armed militias and soldiers donning South Sudanese army uniforms, were strongly condemned by a government representative from Abiye. Bulis Koch Aguar Ajith, the Minister of Information for Abiye and South Sudanese spokesman for the region, issued a statement on Sunday evening reporting that “32 people were killed, including children and women burnt to death in their huts, and more than 20 people were injured.” He also noted that a United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNIFSA) soldier lost their life, and another was wounded during the attacks.

South Sudan has called for an immediate investigation into these “barbaric attacks on civilians.” The Abiye region, situated on the border between Sudan and South Sudan and rich in oil, has been a longstanding point of contention since South Sudan gained independence in 2011.

Earlier this month, a UN regional envoy expressed concerns that the conflict between rival factions in Sudan was encroaching on the border with South Sudan and Abiye. The proximity of this fighting to Abiye raises the risk of destabilization in an already fragile region. The ongoing crisis in Sudan has effectively halted talks between the two countries regarding this disputed territory, warned Hanna Tetteh, the UN’s special envoy for the Horn of Africa.

In Sudan, the conflict that erupted on April 15 between the head of the army, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, and his deputy-turned-rival, General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, has resulted in over 10,000 deaths, according to estimates by the NGO Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED). The UN Security Council unanimously voted this month to extend the 12-year-old peacekeeping mission in Abiye, which currently comprises 4,000 troops.

Quest: Udomah Ejiroghene.

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