Security Council Press Statement on Peacekeeper Deaths in Abyei

The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett (Guyana):

The members of the Security Council strongly condemned the reported series of attacks in the Abyei Administrative Area on 27 and 28 January that resulted in the deaths of two peacekeepers — one Ghanaian and one Pakistani — as well as injuries to several other United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) personnel and wider civilian casualties.

The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to the Governments of Ghana and Pakistan.  They also expressed their condolences to the United Nations and hopes for speedy recoveries for all injured UNISFA personnel.

The members of the Security Council denounced in the strongest terms the targeting of United Nations peacekeepers and all attacks and provocations against UNISFA, and called for those responsible for these reported attacks to be held accountable.  The members of the Security Council reiterated that attacks against peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their deep concern regarding the escalation of violence in recent months between communities living in and around the Abyei Administrative Area, including the killing of the Deputy Chief Administrator of Abyei, along with five civilians on 31 December 2023, and further reported attacks on civilians and peacekeepers on 3 and 4 February that resulted in the deaths of 37 civilians. They called on the transitional government of South Sudan and the Government of Sudan to address as appropriate the ongoing violence in order to bring an end to the repeated cycle of retaliation.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their strong support for UNISFA during this difficult time and their appreciation to troop- and police-contributing countries.  The members of the Security Council underscored the importance the Council places on the safety and security of United Nation peacekeepers in the field.  Members of the Security Council stressed the need for relevant legal authorities to investigate and engage communities involved as appropriate.  Members of the Security Council also stressed the need for further cooperation between the South Sudanese transitional government and Sudanese Government, which is critical for the peace, security and stability in Abyei, to engage the communities involved in the violence, and to take necessary steps to de-escalate tensions between affected communities and protect civilians in order to maintain peace and security in support of the people of Abyei.

For information media. Not an official record.