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Greater Bahr El-Ghazal endorses Sudan’s cooperation deal amid growing criticism

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October 10, 2012 (JUBA) - Despite growing discontentment and criticism of last month’s deal between South Sudan and Sudan, a meeting of the four states of Greater Bahr el Ghazal region endorsed the agreement signed in Addis Ababa on September 27.

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Sudan’s President Omer Hassan al-Bashir (2nd L) and his South Sudan’s counterpart Salva Kiir (2nd R) attend the signing ceremony of cooperation deals between the two countries in Addis Ababa on 27 Sept 2012 (Reuters)

The consultative forum in Juba brought together different groups including elders and prominent community leaders from Lakes State, Northern Bahr el Ghazal State (NBEG), Warrap State and Western Bahr el Ghazal State (WBEG).

The deal addressed outstanding issues since South Sudan’s independence last year. Under pressure from the UN Security Council the two sides in a process brokered by an Africa Union mediation team signed nine separate issues, including citizenship rights and creating a demilitarized buffer zone along the 2,000 kilometres international border.

Despite statements by the African Union and UN Security Council stressing that the lines of the buffer zone will have no bearing on any future resolution of the various border disputes, officials and citizens from Northern Bahr el Ghazal have been angered that South Sudan’s army will move out of the 14 Mile area to create the buffer zone.

At the meeting on Wednesday delegates said they “bureaucratically” agreed to endorse cooperation agreement which still needs to be endorsed by the parliaments of both nations. The gathering was intended to create consensus among the four states ahead of the vote.

Most hostility to the deal has come from Northern Bahr el Ghazal over "Mile 14", a disputed area of grazing land which stretches 23 Kilometres south of a river known as the Bahr Al-Arab in Sudan and the Kiir River in South Sudan.

The Malual Dinka tribe claim the land, which is also used by the Rizeigat tribe of East Darfur who enter the area with their cattle at some points of the year. Northern Bahr el Ghazal’s Governor has expressed unhappiness that deal involves the SPLA pulling out of the area.

Representatives from Unity State were also involved in the eight hours of heated debate over the Addis Ababa deal, declaring their support for position of Northern Bahr el Ghazal.

“We are behind the people of Northern Bahr el Ghazal. We will support you”, Simon Lueth, a native of Parieng County in Unity State who spoke on behalf of the state administration declared to audience.

Lueth blamed leading members of the Ngok Dinka of the contested region of Abyei for having contributed to the claim which government of Sudan lays over Heglig/Panthou and also the government of South Sudan for withdrawing troops from Karasana in 2008.

As part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement a commission was established to define the borders of Abyei. However, the findings were not accepted by Sudan and the issue was referred to the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

“We hold Luka Biong and Deng Alor responsible for including Panthou in the report of Abyei Boundary Commission (ABC). They knew very well that Panthou was never part of Abyei. We will not forgive them. They are source of this problem”, Lueth said warning that failure to address the issue would return the country to war.

The Hague court declared in 2009 that Heglig/Panthou was not part of the Abyei area. Sudan claims that this means the oil rich area is part of South Kordofan State. South Sudan denies this, pointing out that arbitration was to define the borders of Abyei not the north-south border.

The two sides fought over the area in April this year, triggering a UN Security Council resolution threatening both sides with sanction should they not resolve outstanding issues.

Pasqual Joseph, a representative of Western Bahr el Ghazal warned that any mistake to concede some disputed areas will have dire repercussions.

Joseph also expressed total objection to the "four freedoms" deal signed last month which gives citizens in both countries the freedom of residence, freedom of movement, freedom to undertake economic activity and freedom to acquire and dispose property. He argued that the deal will allow the government of Sudan to send spies camouflaging as traders into South Sudan.

“I tell you we have nothing to benefit out of four freedoms. I have been following [Radio] Omdurman and what I hear shows clearly that Khartoum benefited a lot. This is why they are now celebrating the signing of the agreement because their goods will once again get [to] the market. They have goods which they cannot sell to Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Chad and other neighbours. They will also take it as the opportunity to come and spy on us”, he said.

Joseph refuted the fact that many South Sudanese remain in north Sudan, and that many South Sudanese own property in Khartoum and other areas.

Other participants questioned benefits which four freedoms bring to the South Sudanese people and wondered why the government signed the deal without seeking public consultation.

“We understand the circumstances which compelled the countries to sign the deal. The economies of both countries were at the verge of collapsing. This is the fact which all of [us] should understand but there needs to have been consultations so that people get to understand and work together,” Ateny Wek Ateny, an intellectual from Northern Bahr el Ghazal State said in a keynote address.

Senior government officials from Northern Bahr el Ghazal including Governor Paul Malong Awan have strongly objected to the inclusion of the 14 mile area in the demilitarized buffer zone.

Ateny expressed discontent about the lack of representation of members from the area during negotiations involving the two countries, questioning why it was difficult to include members from area.

“If our negotiating team could not pronounce the names of our areas, then who else would pronounce them well,” Ateny said amid applause from meeting hall predominantly full of people from Northern Bahr el Ghazal .

The activist was referring to deputy minister of Interior Salva Mathok Gengdit who has struggled to pronounce the Malual Dinka names for places in the 14 Mile area.

Ateny said that Sudan appeared to want to take 14 mile area as “fall back” because it is likely have to give up its claims over Abyei. The African Union proposed a referendum on the issue of Abyei but Sudan has refused to agree until more members of the Misseriya tribe are allowed to vote. South Sudan maintains that only the Ngok Dinka are registered in the area and therefore they should decide the future of the fertile oil-producing area.

“It is clear that the government of Sudan will at long last give up on Abyei. This is why it is looking for a substitute as fall back but how easy getting it,” he said.

Aldo Ajou Akuey, a former deputy prime minister in Sudan, now working as the chairperson of the Human Rights Committee in South Sudan upper house - the Council of States - expressed his concerns with the agreement and questioned the implementation modalities of the deal.

General Kawac Makuei Kawac, a former Governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal and who has held number of other high-level positions in various governments expressed curiosity over inclusion of the area in the Safe Border Demilitarized Zone (SBDZ), leaving it to Joint Border Monitoring Mission (JBMM).

“This agreement is confusing. I have read it several times and have failed to understand it because what is being said differs from what is written. The 14 mile area has never been part of any agreement. It was not in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which the two parties in signed Nairobi in 2005. It was not part of post-secession issues. How suddenly did it become part of the contested areas that it has to be included in Safe Border Demilitarized Zone,” asked General Kawac.

But Paul Mayom Akec, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation argued that the agreement has a lot of benefits to the new nation particularly with regard to the four freedoms and bringing peace.

“We have some of our people who [own] properties in Khartoum and other states. This agreement will allow them to dispose of [them] if they want. It also allows our people go and buy goods from Sudan. Also is there is no country which is never sent spies. It is how the country manages it affairs that matter,” explained Akec.

Deputy Minister of Interior, Salva Mathok Gengdit, said the agreement was temporary and not final and admitted that the government did not consult members of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, but said this was because Juba’s negotiating team members were knowledgeable of the area.

“I was in Aweil. I know these areas more than other people from Aweil so there are no area I cannot pronounce well”, said Gengdit in response to questions about the competence of the negotiating team. The official said no agreement was reached on border.

Daniel Awet Akot, Deputy Speaker of the National Legislative Assembly called on youth to prepare for plan B and let plan A be implemented so that the government gives attention to the remaining issues.

”This is not the final agreement. It is just an arrangement to pave [a] way forward. So, let us prepare for plans and let this be implemented as it was agreed. I called this forum because we wanted members of parliament from Greater Bahr el Ghazal region to learn from this discussion so that when they go to parliament they shall have known to how to participate in the debate,” Akot explained.

Pio Tem Kuac Ngor, a former presidential advisor, also said his community was bothered by the inclusion of the 14 mile area in the agreement without seeking their consent but that they would not be the obstacle to what the leadership of the country thinks will bring peace and stability.

Ambrose Riiny Thiik, former president of the Supreme Court of South Sudan who chaired the meeting, said the inclusion of members of Northern Bahr el Ghazal in the negotiation would have helped the government in explain the reasoning for including Mile 14 as a contested areas.

“Should I say we have come to closing with consensus to endorse the agreement? Can we agree, asked Thiik. I think we should agree. We have to endorse it. It is endorsed,” he said as he closed the meeting, despite four people still with their hands raised waiting to speak.

(ST)

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  • 11 October 2012 07:58, by omoni jr.

    He said ,we have nothing to benefit from this four freedom,
    I like this..............no more,

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    • 11 October 2012 08:22, by Loko El Pollo

      I like when Bhar el ghazal chalenge themselves,it helps them forget Bor,their usual douce-bag for their failures.go,endorsed and sale it,our goal is how peace can be achieve in a nation where everyone look at the government as a source of easy food.

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    • 11 October 2012 09:00, by Dinkawarrior

      To Greater Bahr El-Ghazal, first you need to change those Ugliest Names of Arab and bring in the suitable names like Waar Rap than you will be fit to talk on the National issues. Such a stupid tactics of food loving is where you lost Abyei to South Kordufan and now your repeating it in the present of God and in opened widely of all South Sudanrse eyes. Go a head and you will get the results!!!!!

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      • 12 October 2012 02:14, by Mayar

        Dinkawarrior???
        I don’t know why you call yourself dinkawarrior, but before critique the name Bahr El-ghazal, you need to critisize yourself first where did the word Dinka came from before you insulted us.. when you find the answer, than u will have a right to say what you want.. But again, don’t throw trash where they will not fall, you know the role Bahr El-Ghazalian have play during the war.

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    • 11 October 2012 12:31, by Joseph Beckkacbaai

      For those who say that they have nothing to benefit from this four freedom. What is your way forward or your advise on that?

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    • 11 October 2012 18:10, by kaci-banno

      If the South Sudan government is not confused, forum suppose to be inclusive All people of South Sudan not great Bahr-ElGhazal alone.
      Kaci-banno

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  • 11 October 2012 08:13, by Northern Sudanese

    i like that too, would spare us a lot of money!

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    • 11 October 2012 08:27, by Chol

      Northern Sudanese, what money are you going to spare? Who is begging $ 3.08 billion and transit fee from South Sudan and the one who think is going to spare money without South Sudan? Take a lesson here, before you construct a lie, try to first analyze the facts on the opposite side of lie. Lie doesn’t make you smarter but highly unreasonable!

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    • 11 October 2012 12:35, by Joseph Beckkacbaai

      The money is not the solution for all of us

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    • 11 October 2012 12:51, by South South

      Northern Sudanese,
      You gay Muslim man is waiting with big open mouth for our money. No deal gay man, people of NBG will stop everything and you are going to continue selling out to Liyba Sudanese young men as the best way to make living. Just wait with open big mouth but our money will never come to you gay man.

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    • 11 October 2012 13:40, by South South

      Northern Sudanese,
      Before crying about South Sudanese money I need you to tell me this: Sudanese young men are for sell in Libya, why. Here is what I found in Alsahafa news paper today: "Human congestion in front of the Libyan Consulate .. Suffering of the citizen".
      Sudanese people are dying in front of Libya Consulate in Khartoum. I feel sorry about these poor people who need food to live

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  • 11 October 2012 08:49, by Amok

    Bahr El Ghazal have to talk,the part which were not there was include in.you talk and will support you.

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    • 11 October 2012 09:03, by Loko El Pollo

      Amok,what do they have to talk about?their anger is already subdued by the fat bulls and cool beers for the gathering.they had already gave in to Ambrose monkey of thiik lual.their is no such thing as temporary arrangement in politics.it is a done deal,the word dispute is already stamped on your land.like it or not,somebody is going to die to free that land.

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      • 11 October 2012 14:36, by Amok

        @Loko Bar el-Ghazal is not like you nyamnyam,you ran to uganda LRA and come back to fight SPLM/A.my friend you will see fire if the try to enter our land.take your wine silence do not open your mouth for no reason.The Greater BELGHAZAL,can not and never be cool by giving them bulls and what you drink.

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  • 11 October 2012 09:15, by Frank Man

    Dear Country men,
    In this agreement we have been sold out. I habour no optimism that these areas named as part of the buffer zone will ever come back to South Sudan. I also disagree with the statement that Khartoum is preparing to give up on Abyei and is planing to take 14 mile instead. If that is how our leaders are thinking, then we will one day be taken by suprise when SAF will anex Abyei again

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  • 11 October 2012 09:15, by Jalaby

    Mr. Pasqual Joseph, a representative of Western Bahr el Ghazal said "I tell you we have nothing to benefit out of four freedoms. I have been following [Radio] Omdurman and what I hear shows clearly that Khartoum benefited a lot." lol lol
    What a liar and ignorant? well, south ran after 4 freedoms not north and you know very well that a lot of Sudanese people

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    • 11 October 2012 09:21, by Jalaby

      are objecting this 4 freedoms agreement, every body knows very well your Western Bahr el Ghazal state totally depends on goods,food,oil,sugar,etc that come from north and not from Kenya or Uganda especially during the rain season! one more funny thing needs to be mentioned that liar Joseph said "I have been following [Radio] Omdurman" he didn’t say "Sudan TV"

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      • 11 October 2012 09:27, by Jalaby

        but he said "Radio Omdurman" because there is no electricity in Western Bahr el Ghazal state to watch TV due to fuel lack that needs to be used in electricity station to generate electricity and that fuel usually comes from north and Radio requires nothing but battery!
        Mr. Joseph, your state at the edge of famine and your people are dying of hunger,your state will

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        • 11 October 2012 09:32, by Jalaby

          benefit the most of this agreement, more money will come to you to steal you big liar and thief!
          I’m telling you, majority of the north people are reluctant to 4 freedoms agreement,you can cancel it now, we only interested in two things: security & oil. shut up thief!

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          • 11 October 2012 10:27, by James Maker Akok

            Hi Jalabya
            I don’t blame you where you talking dirty things on South Sudan, I blame our Leaders in South Sudan who don’t know we fought civil War with North Sudan. We fought for our people freedom as Lands but now they just give up everything to North Sudan. Land is a thing that kill everybody on Earth when somebody take your land by force like what North Sudan doing now.

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            • 11 October 2012 10:30, by James Maker Akok

              I mean, whether you talking..........

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    • 11 October 2012 09:35, by Dinkawarrior

      Jalaby!
      Your are celebrating the so called Four Freedoms but you will never enjoy it as you thought about it. Your trick is known and you can’t deceive anybody unless you bribe Russia, China, and France. Those criminals might play big roles in your economy or you may ask us to help you simply. We are still brothers with the same name Sudan! Thinks about it!

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      • 11 October 2012 09:48, by Jalaby

        Dinkawarrior,
        Don’t flip the facts and you’ve to be more accurate,Sudanese people never celebrated the 4 freedoms (how many northern people live in the south compare to southerns who live in the north?) but they celebrated the Cooperation Agreement itself,frankly speaking, majority of Sudanese people see 4 freedoms agreement is useless!

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      • 11 October 2012 11:04, by Chol

        Well said Dinkawarrior, Jalaby here is playing what is called “reverse psychology”; when he says, South Sudanese are the ones running after four-freedoms; he thinks any one will buy it. How is the economy of Sudan doing now because of South-Sudan separation? The recent GDP numbers recorded at negative -11%. The clown like he is believes South-Sudan is the one after four-freedoms.

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  • 11 October 2012 09:36, by kuoldit

    You elders cannot jeopardise the live of young generation by stepping back in what was ours. When the borders closed in March this year, South Sudanese managed to survive the hunger and are now much better. Why do you to let in Arabs who will give us a chance to do our own business?
    The place has been Kiir not whatever. Are you telling us that the border will be demarcated in different line?

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  • 11 October 2012 10:14, by Foxtail

    Dear John Grang d’ Mabior
    thanks Dad, you liberated them from the bullets war and now they are fighting the talk war. that is great!

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    • 11 October 2012 10:42, by Mel mosa

      If you read the end of article with more attention, you don’t get "Bahr El endorses Sudan’s coorperation" as real. everybody opposed the agreement. Why S Sudan Government don’t follow the CPA? Juba administration must revise their mistake or there leadership will be in disaster.

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  • 11 October 2012 10:36, by wen yar

    I personally don’t understand why some so call government officials said we have nothing to benefit in four signed agreements forgetting that we are out of cash that’s lead to no salary or spent 2 months without.
    this signed agreements will benefit if fools don’t know.
    the only wrong document signed is the issue of mile 14 which was not a part of any agreement whether CPA or post-secession

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    • 11 October 2012 10:50, by Mel mosa

      Wen Yar
      There is no call agreement between countries that allow citizen to move free. every citizen must go to others country through documents. Why not between Soudan and South Sudan. It is a fake agreement every.

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  • 11 October 2012 10:55, by James Maker Akok

    To all South Sudanese people,
    What I see in meeting is a fooling South Sudanese people leap resident committees and let their leadership work in Juba and let oil start work and let land go to North Sudan. They didn’t tell what they going to do about the Map, and they didn’t tell when going to do something about the Map. They just need let money come to their pockets.

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    • 11 October 2012 11:06, by James Maker Akok

      Sorry, website removed some words I was saying in a comment above

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      • 11 October 2012 11:18, by James Maker Akok

        What I was mean in comment: by the Leaders of president Committees.......

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    • 11 October 2012 11:37, by James Maker Akok

      To all South Sudanese,
      What I see in meeting is a fooling South Sudanese people by the Leaders of president committees and let their leadership work in Juba and let Oil start work and let lands go to North Sudan. They didn’t tell what going to do about the Map, and they didn’t tell when they going to do something about the Map. They just need let money come to their pockets. Too shameful.

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  • 11 October 2012 11:24, by Ahmado

    Dinka and Nuer blame themselves for the mistake they have done to sign the 4freedom,incluing 14 miles in the disputed areas hahaha i know very well 4freedom are useless for me, good for food lover,does why i vote for separetion because i can dig in my beautifully state Equatoria i don’t care because dinkas claim to be clever but they stupid let them cry is they mistake.

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    • 11 October 2012 13:17, by Peacocktail

      I urge the South Sudan parliament NOT to signed the so called 14 miles Agreement without Border demarcation. Why North Sudan keep extending theirs Opionion to our territory. Big Shame if our Parliament pass it Overwhelming with here 14 miles.We shall never compromise them in next election becoz they sale our grandfathers lands to Arabs. No to 14 miles without hesitation. 4freedoms okay for S.Sudan

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  • 11 October 2012 11:50, by Tribe

    "I called this forum because we wanted members of parliament from Greater Bahr el Ghazal region to learn from this discussion so that when they go to parliament they shall have known to how to participate in the debate,” Akot
    I can’t wait to hear what the "Greater Upper Nile", and "Greater Equatoria" would react to these agreements.

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  • 11 October 2012 12:51, by James Maker Akok

    I don’t know what is wrong with president Kiir, he think his presidency put him to do anything he like with out listening his South Sudanese people. South Sudanese people are the once who put in that position and they are once who going to removed him out. 2015 will be the end of president Kiir leader if he doesn’t listening South Sudanese people.

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    • 11 October 2012 13:07, by James Maker Akok

      I don’t know what is wrong with president Kiir? He think his presidency put him to do anything he like with out listening his South Sudanese people. South Sudanese people are the once put him in that position and they are the once who going to remove him out. 2015 will be the end of president Kiir leadership if he doesn’t listening South Sufanese people.

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      • 11 October 2012 21:34, by Dinkawarrior

        Maker Akok?
        "I don’t what’s wrong with president Kiir"
        If you don’t know what’s wrong with our president then I will tell you my friend, he is Alcohol-withdrawal! He need some more advisers outside of his Family Kitchen Cabinets.

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  • 11 October 2012 23:16, by E. Defense Forces

    I know this is not the topic but watch this Sudanese guy gang-raped and tortured with fire by Sudanese security.
    http://www.southsudanhub.com/media/2033/Sudanese_security_-_gang-raped_and_tortured_with_fire/

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  • 12 October 2012 04:56, by Tutbol

    These gullibles were forced to sign this agreement by those who were weaned off S Sudan resources; the greatest monsters on earth, the UK and France. They think they can re-unite us by force with the people we we voted to part with 98%. Let us be on guard, we don’t want Europeans in S Sudan save the Norway people. UK had been a great monster to our people a long time. These thieves want creep..

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  • 12 October 2012 05:14, by Tutbol

    In form of arabs. Arabs don’t want to come to south sudan. But the UK and France just want to force our people re-unite with people they do’t want to have anything to with any more for their political and economic gains. But we know they are. I would better sell a part of my land to A rusian or A chinese than these devils. They want to creep in through their always fake investments.

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  • 12 October 2012 07:31, by Deng Teng A

    this article lacks professionalism. Why is it titled that Greater Bahr El Ghazal has endorsed the Cooperation Agreements when it’s only 4 participants who have raised up their hands in support of the agreement and the chair of the meeting went ahead to endorse the deal himself.

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