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Sudan: humanitarian disaster in Abyei

Catholic World News - May 26, 2011

The attack on the central Sudanese region of Abyei by forces from the north is leading to a humanitarian disaster that puts thousands of lives at risk, according to leading local Church official.

Two million lost their lives in the long Sudanese civil war (1983-2005) between the Muslim north and the largely animist and Christian south, which voted to become an independent nation in January. The 2005 peace agreement mandated a similar referendum in oil-rich Abyei, but the referendum was never held.

“There are about 19-20 thousand people totally without any humanitarian assistance,” said Msgr. Roko Taban Mousa, apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Malakal. “Nobody seems to pay attention to the drama of these people. If this situation continues, many people, especially children and the elderly will certainly die. The displaced are under the rain, without shelter, with the risk of the spread of cholera and malaria. It is an appalling situation.”

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