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Sudan says there are 169 policemen in Abyei to maintain order

May 31, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) announced Thursday that there are 169 policemen in Abyei to maintain public order but reiterated that that it pulled out all its troops deployed in the contested area.

A UN position close to the restive town of Abyei on the South Sudan-Sudan border on 17 April 2011 (Photo: Getty Images)

Juba on Wednesday accused Khartoum of violating a UN resolution demanding the two countries to withdraw all their troops out of Abyei in accordance with a security deal they signed on 20 June 2011.

South Sudanese army spokesperson, Colonel Phillip Aguer, said that SAF still have two platoons in Abyei dressed in police uniform; and one battalion of police in Diffra near the oil fields. He further cited Atilla, Agany and Langer where he alleged that Khartoum maintains troops.

Reacting to these accusation, SAF spokesperson Al-Sawarmi Khaled reaffirmed the withdrawal of the Sudanese army from the disputed area. He however pointed out that there are 169 police officers who remain there until the formation of police force.

"There is 169-strong police force equipped with regular arms to perform duties until the formation of an administrative police force agreed by the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC)," he said.

Al-Sawarmi further told the official news agency SUNA that another force police specially formed in accord with the South Sudan ruling party, SPLM, to protect the oil fields in Diffra.

He further stressed that UN and SPLA officers who are part of joint monitoring team witnessed the withdrawal of the Sudanese troops.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon welcomed the withdrawal of the Sudanese troops from Abyei and urged the two parties to form a new local administration as they agreed in the 20 June 2011 deal.

Sudan rejected in the past to withdraw its troops from Abyei accusing Juba of refusing to form the agreed new administration.

Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir on 21 May 2011 dissolved the Abyei administration and relieved its chief administrator and his deputy without consulting his vice-president and president of south Sudanese government, Salva Kiir as stipulated in the 2005 peace agreement.

The dissolution took place after the capture of the disputed area by the Sudanese army following an attack on its troops by uncontrolled elements from the SPLA.

Abyei’s chief administrator, Deng Arop Kuol, was suspected by Khartoum of managing secretly to increase the number of SPLA elements in the contested area.