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The destruction appears to have been wrought by heavily armed Misseriya Arab militia, but there are compelling reports from the SPLM <http://www.sudanreeves.org/Article308.html> and Abyei administrators that large numbers of regular soldiers have been involved in the assaults, and that weapons used in several attacks are not in the arsenal of the Misseriya; some of these weapons, according to the SPLM, require specialized training. Two helicopters reportedly evacuated wounded SAF and Popular Defense Forces (PDF) soldiers (UNMIS observers spotted an SAF helicopter in nearby Muglad, South Kordofan, at the time of the attacks). Several dead soldiers were identified as SAF after the attacks, including troops from the infamous 31st Brigade, which was responsible for the May 2008 destruction of Abyei town. For its part, the PDF is a paramilitary force loyal to Khartoum and responsible for many of the civil war atrocities in South Sudan, the Nuba Mountains, and Darfur (Pax Christi recently released an important report documenting Khartoum’s ominous movement of large numbers of troops and weapons into the Nuba). But the Misseriya themselves have also been heavily armed by Khartoum, a development reported in detail by the authoritative Swiss-based Small Arms Survey.
Such reports are confirmed, Reeves concludes, “they would signal Khartoum’s unambiguous determination to seize all of Abyei as far south as Abyei town.
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