KHARTOUM — The UN human rights envoy for Sudan on Wednesday highlighted reports of rape in Abyei after the army’s occupation last month and criticised Khartoum for failing to provide essential aid to newly displaced Darfuris since January.

“I received allegations of killings, rape and other forms of inhuman and degrading treatment during and subsequent to the attack” on Abyei, Mohamed Chande Othman told a news conference in Khartoum at the end of an eight-day visit.

He urged the government to grant the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) unqualified access to Abyei town to verify the claims, and to conduct its own comprehensive investigation of events there.

Northern troops and tanks overran the contested border district on May 21 in response to a deadly attack two days earlier on an army convoy to the north of Abyei town, in which at least 22 northern troops were killed.

Little is known about the extent of the violence, due to restricted access, although around 100,000 people are now thought to have fled the region, and this week UNMIS reported continued looting in the Abyei area, despite the army’s assurances they would stop it.

On Tuesday, army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad strongly criticised the UNMIS report.

Chande also complained of “strictly limited” humanitarian access to camps for those fleeing the violence in Darfur and expressed concern about continuing fighting between government forces and armed groups, especially in Jebel Marra, the region’s fertile central plateau.

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