disputed region, c.4,000 sq mi (10,400 sq km), on the border of Sudan and South Sudan. Claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan, the area was given special administative status under the 2004 peace agreement that led to southern independence; Sudan has de facto control of Abyei. The inhabitants of the area include a Dinka group with ties to South Sudanese ethnic groups, and the nomadic Misseriya, an Arab group with ties to Sudan, who graze cattle there part of the year. Abyei also is a significant oil-producing area.

A referendum on whether Abyei would join Sudan or South Sudan was scheduled for Jan., 2011, but never took place. Skirmishes between the southern Sudan People's Liberation Army and the Sudanese army followed, and the area was seized by Sudan shortly before South Sudan declared independence in July, 2011. A UN peacekeeping force was sent to the area as violence broke out and more than 100,000 people were displaced. Sudan withdrew some of its forces in May, 2012. Internationally mediated negotiations toward a resolution of Abyei's status have continued, but little progress has been made.

References in periodicals archive ?
27 (SUNA) - Ambassador Hassan Hamid Hassan, acting charge D'affairs of the Sudanese Permanent Mission to the United Nation, presented Sudan statement before the UN Security council session on adoption of resolution on extension of the UNISFA mission in Abyei area.
Khartoum s decision to withdraw SAF from Abyei is long overdue since South Sudan withdrew its forces from Abyei as demanded by the UN Security Council.
Summary: When Abdeljalil Abdelrahim talks about Abyei, a war-scarred region in central Sudan prized by Northern nomads for its grazing land, he has no doubt it belongs to the North.
By Maiwen Dot Phoet April 15, 2014 - Over the past month, reports received from sources on the ground in Abyei confirm the withdrawal of soldiers affiliated with South Sudan's army and police from villages where they were previously stationed.
Addis Ababa,Oct 28 (AU-SUNA) Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU)has issued Monday a press release in which she strongly condemned holding a unilateral referendum in Abyei area.
The co-chairperson of the Abyei joint oversight committee, Dr Luka Biong Deng said at least 600 heads of cattle were looted by Misseriya following the withdrawal of South Sudan Police Service from Abyei.
Summary: Nearly 100 civilians have been killed in Sudan's disputed Abyei region since the Northern military seized it May 21, an Abyei official said Thursday, citing an initial count.
March 19, 2014 (KHARTOUM) -- The UN Security Council (UNSC) has demanded that South Sudan and Sudan immediately withdraw their troops from Abyei, saying it has grave concerns over the volatile security and humanitarian situation in the contested oil-producing region.
21 (SUNA)- The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 401st meeting held on 21 October 2013, exchanged views on the situation in the Abyei area and issued the following communique: The Council expressed deep concern at the prevailing situation in the Abyei Area.
Summary: More than 15,000 people have fled Sudan's Abyei region to the South after the Northern army seized the disputed area and parts of the main town were burned and looted, U.
March 3, 2014 (KHARTOUM) -- The Sudanese government has asked residents of the contested Abyei area for restraint and accused South Sudan's army of attacking Sudanese citizens north of the border line drawn in January 1, 1956, calling upon Juba to withdraw its forces south of that border line.
6 (SUNA) the meetings of the Technical Committee for the establishment of Abyei Police ended, Wednesday, without reaching an agreement between the governments of Sudan and South Sudan on the number of components of the Abyei police .