Home | News    Wednesday 11 January 2012

Abyei community leader calls for accelerated international intervention

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By Ngor Arol Garang

January 10, 2012 (JUBA) - One year on from the date that the disputed territory of Abyei was due to decide whether it would join South Sudan or remain governed by Khartoum - north of what is now a new international border - Abyei leaders have called for international intervention to resolve the issue.

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Hundreds of southern Sudanese take part in a demonstration against northern Sudan’s military incursion into the border town of Abyei in the southern capital of Juba Monday May 23, 2011. (AP)

On 9 January 2011 South Sudanese voted to secede from north Sudan as part of a peace deal signed in 2005 that accorded Abyei special status and the right to self-determination.

However, disagreement over who could take part in the vote and who would oversee it meant that it did not go ahead. Since then the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), which helped conduct South Sudan referendum, has pulled out country, after Khartoum refused to renew its mandate.

The north Sudanese military attacked and took control of the area in May 2011, displacing tens of thousands of civilians.

"We need their help now not tomorrow. Our people have suffered a lot", Nyanaguek Kuol, a deputy Abyei community leader in Juba said on South Sudan TV on 9 January, the day six years ago when Abyei was accorded to right vote on its future in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

The agreement ended decades of civil war in which two million died but left many issues unresolved.

Fighting has broken out in South Kordofan - since June 2011 - and in Blue Nile - since August 2011 - between groups that fought with South Sudan during the civil war but now remain north of the border governed by Khartoum.

The CPA-mandated ’Popular Consultations’ in the two northern states were never completed.

Despite a six year interim period, 80% of the border remains demarcated and there are disputes over many other issues including oil, which Abyei also produces.

Nyanaguek claimed on that the Abyei referendum did not go ahead because Khartoum did not want to resolve the issue peacefully.

Sudan insisted that the nomadic Misseriya tribe - who enter region for a few months of the year to graze their cattle - be allowed to vote, hoping that this would swing the vote in favour of remaining in the north.

Without the Misseriya it was expecting that the South Sudan-aligned Dinka Ngok would have voted to secede and become part of South Sudan.

“I believe the whole world is watching how our innocent people are dying daily under trees where they have fled when their home town was once again invaded in May by the forces of the same Sudanese government which burned it to ground in 2008 after killing a lot of people", Nyanaguek said.

The Sudan Armed forces (SAF) have occupied Abyei since May missing a deadline to pull out of the area in September, as part of an agreement that has seen Ethiopian troops replace UNMIS.

However, contrary to the deal brokered in Addis Ababa, Khartoum says it will not begin pulling out of Abyei until the full United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) has been deployed.

By November Ethiopia had deployed just 2,780 of it 4,200 troops in Abyei and it is unclear when they will have a full contingent.

"There are no indications that they [SAF] will leave any time soon”, Nyanaguek added, calling on the international community to act.

Bol Makueng, the head of Information, Culture and Information in the secretariat of South Sudan’s ruling party - Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) - observed that the issue needs to be peacefully resolved without prejudice to the rights of the people of Abyei.

Makueng said the problems arises each time a definition of residency in Abyei is suggested.

Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) "remains stuck on a narrow and shallow definition" of residency "that intends to include non natives of Abyei" he said, in reference to the Misseriya.

The SPLM reject this insisting that the "Abyei belongs to the Nine Dinka Chiefdoms”, he says.

He said that the Misseriya should be able to look for water and pasture in Abyei but they did not have the right to take part in the referendum.

(ST)

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  • 11 January 2012 06:58, by George Bol

    The problem of Abyei should and must be the top agenda in the mind of proud South Sudanese. We need to show our power toward our land called Abyei instead of dying for just food(cattle) and selfishness(power greed).Whether Khartoum want it or not the Abyei is Dinka land. The Dinka and the proud will not see back for this issue.

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    • 11 January 2012 07:09, by omoni jr.

      George Bol,

      Abyei problem is NOT big problem,
      Murle,Nuer,and Dinka problem should be solve first.
      If we bring Abyei now to south,then the number of the terrorists will increase and destabilized and cripple whole south sudan,

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      • 11 January 2012 07:14, by George Bol

        Omoni,
        You are not proud South Sudan we need to deal with Abyei problem. Please,you need to go to Uganda for safety before explosion in the Abyei-Dinka land.

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      • 11 January 2012 08:51, by Logic

        Khartoum’s elite have tried for decades and failed to impose their will on the proud Sudanese of the south, west and centre. They will also fail to impose their power on Abyei.

        Sudan is already at war, so its just a matter of military strategies and wisdom in opening an Abyei front at this moment. But rest assured proud Sudanese, the self proclaimed Arab elite will lose.

        All in good time.

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  • 11 January 2012 07:01, by Madina Tonj

    International community is falling when it come to talk about Sudan’s problems. The people of Southern Sudan has been taking all steps from CPA which gave Abyei people to vote and Omar al Bashir and his VP Ali agree. They violate that rights. We took similar step in going to ICC and Abyei people were been given rights and Representative of Khartoum sign later they reject again. We also went to AU

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  • 11 January 2012 07:12, by Madina Tonj

    What left for Abyei’s case is only need to take action because all steps have been taken and Khartoum regime seem not listen. If the U.N. Not able to force SAF out from Abyei then, there is no need for them to staying in Southern Sudan period. SPLA will force SAF by all mean, there were big towns were been captured during 21 years and I am strong belief that, SPLA will show them some aggressivenes

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    • 11 January 2012 13:12, by Brother Billy

      Madina Tonj,
      Thank you for the comment which I have recommended to be so meaningful, I though you were still localizing your self by commenting against Gogrial which you have been doing for long, We are all S Sudanese are you wrote and Warrap citizen as well regardless of our community setting, SAF must row tears this time round!

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  • 12 January 2012 05:27, by Elijah B. Elkan

    The problem with the fake Arabs in north Sudan ... inbreeding is taking it’s toll. The fake Muslims/Arabs are born liars, thief, and cheaters. The nomads have no place in south Sudan. Turabi/Bashir are world most wanted criminals and they should hang for the killing of millions of their citizens. Turabi/Bahsir are morally corrupted and the will rot in hell. Bashir will be arrested in 2012 by ICC.

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