Lords Questions: Baroness Cox’s question and received answer concerning massacre in Abyei, South Sudan, 29/01/2020

3 February 2020

Question: Baroness Cox, Crossbench

My Lords, is the Minister aware that, just last Wednesday, I was in Abyei, the region suffering from disputes over whether it is located in Sudan or South Sudan, and witnessed the immediate aftermath of a massacre perpetrated by Arab Misseriya tribesmen against Dinka villagers? I saw the burned bodies of women and children in huts that were still burning and heard local villagers voicing deep anger that the UN’s policy prevented them escaping to hide in the bush and left them without any protection. Will Her Majesty’s Government urge the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to take the necessary measures to ensure the protection of the vulnerable people of Abyei?


Answer: Lord Ahmad of Wimboldon, Minister of State

I am sure I speak for all in your Lordships’ House in paying tribute to the noble Baroness’s work in the region. I am aware of the reports and I thank her for the report that she sent to my office only yesterday. I read the full results of the attack that happened. It was appalling and sickening, and I am sure I speak for the whole House in our total condemnation of it. What particularly concerned me was the fact that the UN troops—the mission—did not perhaps intervene in an appropriate manner. I have asked for a full, detailed report. I assure the noble Baroness that, as I said to the noble Lord, Lord Collins, we continue to engage. I met the ambassador yesterday and, while this was not on the agenda, I raised these concerns directly with him.

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