Sudan has long been plagued by civil war. The largely non-Arab, non-Muslim South, accused the predominately Arab, Muslim North of political and economic exclusion, as well as ethnic and religious discrimination. While a 2011 referendum resulted in the independence of South Sudan, the Abyei area, which lies along the border of Sudan and South Sudan, remains contested.
The primary objective of United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) is to monitor the border between north and south and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. UNISFA is also authorized to use force in protecting civilians and humanitarian workers in Abyei.