An Ethiopian peacekeeper was killed and two wounded in an ambush on a convoy in which a top tribal leader was killed in the disputed Abyei region between Sudan and South Sudan, the United Nations said late Saturday.
UN leader Ban Ki-moon said he ‘strongly condemns’ the killings, but called for efforts to prevent an escalation between the rival countries.
A UN peacekeeping convoy was stopped and attacked by Arab Miseriya tribesmen in Abyei on Saturday, UN officials said. Kual Deng Majok, paramount leader of the rival Ngok Dinka tribe, was in the convoy and was killed.
Ban said in a statement that two peacekeepers from the UN Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) were seriously wounded.
UNISFA is made up of Ethiopian peacekeepers and was created in a bid to halt tensions between Sudan and South Sudan, who have disputed Abyei ever since they split in July 2011. The Miseriya are close to Sudan while the Ngok Dinka are allied to South Sudan.
‘The secretary general strongly condemns the killing of the Ngok Dinka paramount chief’ and the UNISFA peacekeeper ‘in an attack by a Misseriya assailant on a UNISFA convoy,’ said a statement released by the UN.
He expressed ‘deepest condolences’ to the Ngok Dinka tribe and the Ethiopian government.
Ban ‘urges the governments of Sudan and South Sudan and the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya communities to remain calm and avoid any escalation of this unfortunate event,’ the statement added.
He added that it was ‘crucially important’ to set up joint government and policing arrangements as Sudan and South Sudan agreed in 2011.