In this May photo, a village is seen burning around the Banton Bridge area of Abyei which crosses the Kiir River, south of Abyei town, Sudan. (Photo: AP Photo/UNMIS, Stuart Price)
The U.N. refugee agency said that about 100,000 people have been displaced in the disputed area of South Sudan town of Abyei.
Both North and South Sudan claim Abyei ahead of South Sudan's formal independence on July 9.
United Nations High Commission for Refugees staff monitoring the situation say that many people are still on the move or hiding in the bush amid heavy military activity in the region. Gunfire had been reported in Abyei late last Thursday, and Antonov planes have been seen flying above Bantan Bridge, creating panic among he displaced who fear being bombed. Bantan Bridge over the Kiir River is one of the main routes linking Abyei to South Sudan.
There have been reports of looting, shooting, and other harassment by armed men coming from Abyei. Two elderly women reported being beaten by soldiers in Abyei itself.
Displacement from Abyei started May 21 when the town was attacked and taken over by Sudan Armed Forces. This is the latest crisis affecting South Sudan where more than 120,000 people have already been uprooted this year as a result of communal violence.
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