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More UN troops to Sudan s Abyei region

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 4 – The United Nations ordered extra peacekeepers to the troubled Abyei region on the border between north and south Sudan after clashes in which dozens have been killed.

An extra company of troops will join the four already there to allow for more frequent patrols in oil-rich Abyei, the UN peacekeeping department said. The troops will come from other parts of the UN mission in Sudan (UNMIS).

Officials said about 100 soldiers from the force of about 10,500 troops and police in Sudan would be moved.

At least 70 people were killed and two villages razed in two days of fighting that started Tuesday between fighters from the Misseriya tribe, which supports the Khartoum government, and the Ngok Dinka people, who back the south.

Abyei did not take part in a referendum in January in which southern Sudan voted to secede from the north.

Failure to establish a referendum commission and lack of agreement on who could vote prevented a ballot. The two sides are still holding talks on Abyei\’s future.

The UN Security Council discussed the Abyei fighting on Thursday.

The council voiced deep concern in a statement released after the meeting which called on all parties to reduce tensions by implementing previous agreements.

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The 15-member body also said there was an "urgent need for a political agreement" on Abyei\’s future and urged the two sides to work with UNMIS in resolving their differences.


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