93 people killed in renewed clashes in Sudan's Abyei

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A total of 93 people were killed in renewed clashes between the Arab Mesiria tribe and fighters from Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) in Sudan's disputed oil- rich area of Abyei, Sudanese newspapers reported Thursday.

"Clashes renewed Wednesday, for the third day, between Mesiria tribe and forces of the SPLA at Dabatal-Shuhada area near Abyei. The clashes resulted in killing of more than 20 members of the Arab Mesiria tribe and injury of 55 others," Khartoum's Al Raid daily reported Thursday.

"Three other members of the Mesiria tribe were killed and 11 others were injured in another battle, while the SPLA announced that 70 of its forces were killed in the clashes until Wednesday," the paper added.

The Mesiria tribe has officially announced its control of Dabatal-Shuhada camp which belongs to the SPLA.

"The clashes renewed on Wednesday morning when the Mesiria attacked Dabatal-Shuhada camp which belongs to the SPLA," Omdah Yousif Yagoub, a leading member of the Mesiria tribe was quoted as saying.

"The attack came after the SPLA forces, in Abyei's police uniforms, slaughtered a number of cows of Mesiria and attacked um Balayel area of the tribe," he added.

Head of Abyei Administration Deng Arop, for his part, was reported to have accused officials in the Khartoum government of being responsible for the incidents to destabilize the Dinka tribe in their areas and force them to leave to resettle the Mesiria in those areas.

In the meantime, the Joint Defense Council of the Sudanese army and the SPLA (south Sudan army) announced that a committee has been formed to investigate the bloody incidents which took place in the Abyei area in the past two days.

After a meeting in Khartoum, the council decided to deploy further joint forces to protect the pasture routes of the Mesiria tribe, the oil sites and the voluntary return of the southerners. The move preceded a meeting for the Presidency, to be held sometimes this March, to resolve the Abyei issue.

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