SPLM/Abyei Administrator’s account of weapons/personnel used in recent attacks |
Eric Reeves, 6 March 2011
On the 28th of February there were two attacks on Todac. [A first attack occurred at 6:30am]; the second attack occurred at 3pm. As there was a very small police presence in accordance with the Kadugli Agreement, the local civilian youth fought to defend their villages along with police that were deployed to the area after the attack of the previous day. A total of 75 police and civilians were killed. The majority of casualties were civilian youth.
The Abyei Administration has not been able to verify the number of dead among the attacking forces. The forces comprised of PDF, Misseriya militia and SAF members and civilians. The number of fighters is estimated to be approximately 1000. An estimated 250 of which were civilian. Todac was scorch, villages were burnt down. Fortunately families had evacuated the area in anticipation of more attacks.
The forces are identified according to uniform, weapons and vehicles. Additionally, some members of the forces are known to the Abyei police and community, two among the dead found were identified as SAF force members. The jeeps used to mount the artillery were the same used by SAF to escort returnees. Misseriya militias have easy access to AKMs and AK47s which are easy to operate but the fighters of these attacks were heavily armed.
The weapons used during this week’s battles included: 12.7 MM Heavy Machine Gun, R.P.G-7 Rocket launcher, PKM Light Machine Guns, 60 MM mortars, 82 MM mortars, antitank SPG-9 and rocket grenades. A high level of training is required to operate these weapons. The PDF does not have direct access to this type of weaponry. Support from SAF has come in the form of provision of arms, provision of training and deployment of soldiers to the Abyei area. SAF soldiers were identified during the battles by their uniform. Some individual SAF members who had previously been deployed to the area as part of Brigade 131 were recognized.
On March 2nd Maker was attacked at 10:30 am. This area is Forces entered a small bridge were they found the JIUP. The JIUP resisted and 5 were killed. The civilians fled during the battle to safety. Most civilians had evacuated after the fighting in January. The attacking forces retreated after the initial attack, then regrouped themselves and moved towards Abyei via the same the same route in Make at 3pm. The attackers were resisted by Abyei police who were deployed to the area immediately after the initial attack. The attacking forces consisted of roughly 1000 fighters with elements of PFD, SAF, Misseriya militias and civilians. There were 100 Abyei police joined by 200 civilians. There were 33 casualties among the Abyei force.
Important to note is the capacity of the attacking forces and the level of support being received from Khartoum. Two helicopters were deployed to the area to evacuate the injured soldiers from the attacking forces.
Throughout the fighting of the past week, the JIU has not intervened. They have failed to assist in stopping the attacks. As the Misseriya forces moved to the areas of attack, the JIU witnessed the troop movements but did not warn Abyei authorities of looming attacks. UNMIS forces are mandated to protect civilians from armed groups and militias. They have also failed to do their role which in monitoring and evaluation.