Six children who were reportedly abducted last week in the disputed territory on the Sudan-South Sudan border have been returned, a local official has confirmed.
Kuol Alor, Abyei chief administrator on Wednesday said six out the fifteen children who went missing when suspected Misseriya herders from Sudan attacked Kolom village had been returned with the help of NGOs.
“Today [Wednesday] afternoon, we received six children out of the fifteen children that were abducted during last week’s attack. This was through the help of Save the Children and Global Aid Fund together with the local chiefs. Out of the six children retuned children, five of them are boys and one girl in the age group of between 8 and 14 years,” said Kuol.
The Wednesday attack on the Dinka village left at least 19 people dead and dozens other injured, according to UN peacekeeping force in Abyei (UNISFA). 19 houses were burnt.
Kuol urged Juba, Khartoum, UN and the African Union to fast track the designation of Abyei to avoid future conflict.
“The other demand is that for the government of South Sudan and Sudan, UN and AU to come together and decide on the final issue of Abyei area because people of Abyei have been suffering and they continue to suffer. So, resolving Abyei problem will bring peace to the people of Abyei” he added.
Since 2005, the oil-rich region of Abyei has remained contested between Juba and Khartoum.
The 4,500 strong UNIFSA was deployed in the area in 2011 following a series of clashes that displaced about 100,000 people.