All the better to hold onto Abyei, which the north recently invaded. While the UN office is in Khartoum, most of the personnel are in the south, so Khartoum would be largely trying to order the UN out of what is about not to be their country anymore. But Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has big plans to impose Sharia and a campaign of cultural and linguistic Arabization on the remainder of his country, and Abyei. He doesn’t want any unnecessary obstacles in the way of his Extreme Makeover/Final Solution.
And once again, “restive” is the reliable code word for “jihad-afflicted.” “Sudan orders UN out of restive south,” from the South African Press Agency and Agence France-Presse, May 31 (thanks to Ima Freeman):
Juba – Sudan has ordered the official termination of the UN’s north-south peacekeeping mission on July 9, the date the south will declare full independence, Khartoum’s official news agency said.
“Sudan has officially notified the United Nations of the end of the term of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) on July 9,” Suna said in a statement late on Saturday.
Violence in the contested border region of Abyei following the occupation on May 21 by Khartoum’s troops and tanks have raised fears the two sides could tip back into civil war.
Heavy fighting has forced thousands of people to flee southwards.
Khartoum has received international condemnation for the taking of Abyei, saying that it violated the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the two sides to end two decades of civil war.
Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti sent a message to thank UN chief Ban Ki-moon, noting that Sudan has shown “the utmost cooperation, transparency and commitment” to the CPA, the deal that set up the UN force.
UNMIS includes over 10,000 people, most of whom are troops, as well as almost 500 military observers monitoring the peace agreement, and over 1,000 civilian staff.
Although UNMIS headquarters are in Khartoum, most staff are based in the south, which voted overwhelmingly to split from the north in a January referendum.
A separate joint UN-African Union force (UNAMID) operates in the north’s war-torn western Darfur region.