North Sudan says its forces seize disputed Abyei

May 22, 2011 15:12

KHARTOUM- Sudan's northern army has taken control of the disputed Abyei region and is clearing it of armed groups from the South, a minister from the northern government said on Sunday.

Control of oil-rich and fertile Abyei has been the main point of dispute between northern and southern Sudan ahead of plans for the South to become a separate state on July 9 following a January referendum on independence.

Analysts say the region is one of the likeliest places for conflict to erupt over the secession.

"The Sudanese armed forces control Abyei and are cleansing it of illegal forces," Amin Hassan Omar, a minister of state for presidential affairs, told reporters in Khartoum.

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