Following South Sudan's referendum on independence, Insight on Conflict will be producing a weekly round-up of the news. To subscribe to receive the updates via email, please contact or complete the form below.

News Round-up

  • The UN reported widespread looting and burning of Abyei town after Northern forces entered the region early last week. Estimates as to how many people have fled vary, the UN believe up to 40,000 had left, South Sudanese officials say 150,000. The ongoing insecurity, as well as poor weather, is hampering humanitarian relief efforts.
  • President Omar al-Bashir has so far refused to withdraw troops, declaring Abyei “Northern Sudanese land”. South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has said he would not respond militarily and that South Sudan will not return to war. The Satellite Sentinel Project has produced evidence showing what it believes to be of a further build-up of Northern forces outside of Abyei.
  • The South alleges that now Abyei’s permanent residents, the Dinka Ngok, have fled, the North is moving thousands of Misseriya into the town and surrounding villages.
  • The US believes that the North’s actions were “premeditated” and used the recent ambush of a UN convey by Southern forces as the pretext to seize Abyei. According to the North, 197 Northern soldiers were killed or are still missing after the attack.
  • Talks aimed at resolving the dispute were held on Monday, but failed to produce an agreement.
  • It has been reported that the North is preparing to disarm all Southern-aligned forces in the Northern  border states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, and has ordered all SPLA forces to move South of the border by 1 June. The North has also that it will not recognise South Sudan until borders have been formally demarcated
  • The North has informed the UN  that it expects the UN mission in Sudan (UNMIS) to leave the country when the South becomes on 9 July. UNMIS has responded by saying that is a decision for the UN Security Council alone.

News in Detail


UN: UN strongly condemns looting and burning of town of Abyei 23 May: The United Nations peacekeeping operation in Sudan has strongly condemned today’s looting and burning of the town of Abyei by armed men, which has forced large numbers of civilians to flee to the South of the disputed area.

Al Jazeera: Abyei 'ablaze' after capture by North 23 May: Sudan's disputed border town of Abyei is ablaze, with gunmen looting properties days after troops from the government in Khartoum entered the area, UN peacekeepers say.

Alert Net: Civilians, young and old, flee Abyei - UN 24 May: The young and the elderly are among an estimated 20,000 civilians who are "running for their lives" to escape fighting in Sudan's disputed border region of Abyei, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday

BBC: Sudan's Abyei dispute: Minister Luka Biong Deng resigns 24 May: A Southern minister in Sudan's national government has resigned, saying "war crimes" had been committed in the disputed Abyei region.

Forbes: 197 troops killed, missing in Abyei attack 24 May: A Sudanese official says 197 Northern troops were killed or are missing after an attack last week by Southern forces near Abyei that kicked off the latest tension between North and South Sudan.

Reuters: Sudan's Bashir refuses to withdraw Abyei troops 24 May: Sudan's president on Tuesday refused to withdraw troops from the disputed Abyei region they seized over the weekend, defying international calls for them to pull out and raising the stakes in a standoff with the South.

Sudan Tribune: Sudan’s peace negotiator calls for creation of independent state in Abyei 25 May:  The chief mediator of the Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), General Lazarus Sumbeiywo, has proposed the need to create an independent state of Abyei as a solution to the current stalemate between North and South Sudan over ownership of the region in a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya on Tuesday.,39015

VOA: Satellite Spots Large Build-Up of Northern Sudanese Forces 26 May: Another satellite image of Sudan’s Abyei region shows an even bigger build-up of Northern Sudanese forces than first thought.

Alert Net: Rain, insecurity block access to Sudan’s displaced 26 May: Security fears and muddy roads are hampering efforts to reach hungry families sleeping out under rainy skies, after they fled Sudan’s disputed border region of Abyei, humanitarian workers said on Thursday.

BBC: South Sudan: Salva Kiir says no to war with North 26 May: South Sudan's leader Salva Kiir has said he will not lead his people back into conflict with the North over the disputed region of Abyei.

Reuters: South Sudan says North moves allied tribe into Abyei 26 May: South Sudan on Thursday accused the Northern army of moving thousands of people from the allied Misseriya tribe into the disputed Abyei region.

Yahoo: US says Sudan move into Abyei was premeditated 27 May: The Sudanese government's takeover of the disputed border town of Abyei increasingly appears to be premeditated, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said Thursday.

BBC: 150,000 flee Abyei clash, says Southern minister 27 May: The number of people displaced from Sudan's disputed Abyei region after its seizure by Northern troops has reached 150,000, a Southern minister says.

AFP: High-level talks on Sudan's Abyei fail 30 May: South Sudan's vice president Riek Machar failed on Monday to persuade Khartoum to withdraw its army from the flashpoint Abyei area, he told a news conference after meeting his Northern counterpart.

North Sudan

Reuters: South Sudanese wait, fret about how to get home 24 May: Southerners' furniture and belongings are piled high in this slum in Sudan's Northern capital, ready to catch the next truck home before the region breaks away to form a new nation in July.


Reuters: Security Council to decide Sudan mission future - UN 29 May:  It is up to the United Nations Security Council, not the Sudanese government, to decide whether the U.N. mission in Sudan continues after the country splits in two, a U.N. spokeswoman said on Sunday.


Radio Dabanga: More than 400 Darfur civil society delegates head to Doha 27 May: More than four hundred representatives of Darfuri civil society headed to Doha yesterday from El Fasher and Nyala airports. They will participate in the third Doha Forum, which is scheduled to begin on Friday in Doha with the participation of displaced people,  refugees  and different classes of Darfuris.

North-South Relations

Sudan Tribune: Sudan’s NCP says no recognition of South Sudan state without border demarcation 27 May: The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in North Sudan added a new layer of tension on Thursday by declaring that they will not  recognize the independence of the South next July unless borders are demarcated.,39031

Sudan Tribune: SAF gives Sudan’s SPLA ultimatum to withdraw from Blue Nile & South Kordofan 29 May: The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) on Saturday said it had given an ultimatum to the South Sudan army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), to withdraw its forces South of the 1956 borders from the two Northern states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan.,39052

New York Times: Sudan Threatens to Occupy 2 More Disputed Regions 29 May: The Northern Sudanese Army is threatening to seize two more areas along the combustible North-South border, risking war just weeks before Southern Sudan is due to split off as a new country, Western and Sudanese officials said Sunday.