In a briefing on March 30, Obi said rocket-propelled grenades, rockets
and machine guns were pouring into Abyei. He said the heavy weapons could
represent a new flashpoint in the tense relations between north and south.
"We have seen all sorts of armed elements that ordinarily are not
supposed to be there," Obi said. "Both sides have these weapons, and we
think they should abide by their own agreement and get them out of Abyei."
In March, at least 70 people were killed in two days of clashes in Abyei
between rival tribes. The UN has called for the withdrawal of all forces
Khartoum has asserted that the south's Sudanese People's Liberation Army
has deployed 2,500 troops in Abyei. The ruling National Congress Party said
these troops have been wearing police uniforms.
SPLA said Khartoum was paying Arab tribes to infiltrate Abyei and other
areas of southern Sudan. Abyei was not scheduled to secede along with the
rest of southern Sudan and a referendum on the disputed region has not been
"There have been deaths, there have been displacements," Obi said. "And
if the stalemate continues politically, the risk of confrontation remains
and could escalate."