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North Sudan troops to withdraw from disputed Abyei region

North Sudan troops to withdraw from disputed Abyei region
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Leaders from North and South Sudan have signed an agreement to demilitarise the disputed Abyei region and allow an Ethiopian peacekeeping force to monitor the situation there.

The deal, brokered by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, said the agreement demands the full demilitarisation of the fertile area close to the country’s oil fields and claimed by both north and south Sudan.

North Sudanese troops moved into the region last month, a move which prompted thousands allied to the south to flee in fear.

The agreement comes three weeks before the south splits from the north to form the world’s newest country.

North and south fought an ugly civil war that lasted decades and claimed the lives of an estimated two million people. The conflict ended with a peace deal in 2005, which gave the right for the south to hold a self-determination vote.

In January the region voted overwhelmingly to break from the north.