South Sudan's army said on Saturday it had finished pulling out of the oil-rich Abyei area where southern troops clashed with Khartoum's forces in May.
"We have pulled out. The forces are south of Abyei," Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) Spokesman Peter Parnyang said.
Battles between the two forces in Abyei led to the displacement of some 50,000 people and killed scores, causing widespread concern a 2005 north-south peace deal that ended decades of war could unravel.
Both sides missed a June 30 withdrawal date agreed by the SPLA's political arm -- the Sudan People's Liberation Movement -- and Khartoum's ruling National Congress Party.
A senior official in the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Sudan said the SPLA's redeployment had been verified by their monitors. He did not give numbers of northern forces still in the area but said they were moving.
An SPLA solider shot and wounded a U.N. and a northern army monitor last week and the northern withdrawal stopped, he said. "But they have now restarted," he added.
Under a June roadmap agreement signed by the two sides, the area is to be governed by a temporary administration led by an SPLM official with a northern deputy. North-south disagreement over the area has meant it has lacked formal administration since the peace deal.
Last Mod: 13 Temmuz 2008, 10:14