UN: Sudan indicates Abyei residents may return

By the Associated Press | June 6, 2011 | 9:44 PM EDT

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the Sudanese government has indicated it will create conditions for thousands of residents who fled the disputed Abyei region on the border between north and south Sudan to return.

Ban told a news conference Monday that it was "far too early to claim that ethnic cleansing is taking place" in the oil-rich region.

He acknowledged a confidential report by the U.N. Mission in Sudan, obtained Friday by The Associated Press, which warned that the invasion of Abyei by Sudan's military could lead to "ethnic cleansing" if conditions are not created for the return of more than 30,000 Ngok Dinkas who fled their homes.