By Dhor Aher
The Sudanese government is notorious particularly laying bogus claims on any South Sudanese border area perceived to be rich in natural resources. Panthous is a clear classical example where Sudanese government twisted facts, annexed the area as a result of oil discovery. The story doesn’t end there; same tactics were repeated in Abyei, Western Bhar el Ghazal, and Upper Nile region where Sudanese illegal encroachments are evident. One thing is unique in all these claims, they are areas perceived to be rich in natural resources.
Again we have witnessed those desperate measures on 18th August, 2012, apparently Arab Rezigat sponsored by Sudanese intelligence agents sneaked into Kiir Adem Payam, Aweil North County, Northern Bhar el Ghazal State, and erected three false graves of Arab Rezigat alleged to be owners of the land. To put this into perspectives, there were three purported graves of their citizen buried in the area, and here are the facts of the discovery:
- Grave one marked: Mahamed Sadik Ahmed – died in 1946
- Grave two Marked: Ibrahim Abdhala Ali – died in 1947
- Grave three Marked: Amhaat Adhalgadir - died in 1954
The three graves were freshly cemented which raises a doubt whether Rezigat did have access to modern cement in those years. The freshly graves were dug up, and upon inspections, there were no evidences of living soul buried in those graves to substantiate their allegations.
All these malicious planting of evidences was done to give pretext to invade an area, and uses those planted evidences to deceive international community of being the rightful owners of the land. Legal ownership of the Land is substantiated by establishing facts based on historical artifacts, cultural relic, and the existing evidences in Kiir Adem area are testimony to Dinka Malual rightful ownership of the14 Mile area. This is just a tip of the icebergs, and we will witness more of these deceptive measures orchestrated by Sudanese intelligence, and their sponsored militia allies and the purpose of this statement is to categorically dispel all those falsified evidences to justify Sudan ownership of the14 Mile area of Kiir Adem.
These deceitful actions by the Sudanese intelligence agency and their sponsored militia allies are insults to the intelligence of international community, who wants to see peaceful and comprehensive settlements to border issues. We call upon Rezigat not to be misled by Khartoum, cease from deceitful, and provocative means to encroach on an area they have no historical claim, but to pursue the path of peace that will grant them access to water, grazing for their animals, and local commercial activities out of goodwill of Northern Bhar el Ghazal’s people. An honest and serious cooperation from Rezigat will cultivate harmony, and strengthen peaceful co-existence as neighbors, and pave way for “soft border”.
Northern Bhar el Ghazal’s citizens believe that if the objective of the African Union, South Sudan, and Sudan government is to enhance peace, then it has to start with involving local communities at the borders. The Dinka-Rezigat peace Initiative, that has provided harmony since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) inception is the model, and deserves a consideration. The State leadership under Governor Paul Malong had invested heavily to sustain in the Dinka-Rezigat peace Initiative, and it did provide relative period of peace apart from hostile actions from Sudanese government and desire to replicate “Darfur-style” ethnic Cleansing in the Kiir Adem. We believe Rezigat have been coached by Sudanese government to pursue an illegal claim on the the14 miles area that is not in their best interest. We know their interest more than government of Sudan. Their interest is access to water, grassing for their animals, and commercial interaction with citizens of Northern Bhar el Ghazal. All these interests have been guaranteed in the Dinka-Rezigat Peace Initiative we have with them.
The government in Khartoum is determined to disrupt existing harmony between Rezigat-Aweil people, and pursue their goal of illegal occupation of Kiir Adem using indiscriminate aerial bombardment on innocent civilians, sponsors militias to carry out ethnic cleansing, inflicting fears which result into forceful displacement of civilians in their land as we witnessed this past week. Their disregards for humanity have resulted in killings of seven, and eight seriously wounded mostly women and children in Kiir Adem Payam of Aweil North County in Northern Bhar el Ghazal. These sustained aerial bombardments are deliberate and coordinated actions with intentions of killing and inflicting fears among civilians population to ease forceful displacement, and illegally grabbing of their land.
The citizens of Northern Bhar el Ghazal unequivocally objected to the portion of recent 27 September 2012, Security Cooperation Agreement that included the 14 Mile Area in demilitarizing zone which Sudan government seized upon as disputed area. Although South Sudanese negotiators insisted on signing agreement to pave way for establishing buffer zone, it is mind boggling to put faith on a regime that lacks principle, and regard for any piece of agreement they signed. It was a grave mistake on the part of African Union, and government of South Sudan to make a territory deep inside Northern Bharel Ghazal as disputed area. This ill advised inclusion of the 14 Mile area did not sustain peace, but it has endangered the lives of local indigenous as clearly demonstrated by recent three days of indiscriminate killings by regime in Khartoum. We can’t afford another “Abyei” where Sudanese government backed by their militia allies exerted illegal occupation, and annihilates the area of its rightful indigenous.
Dhor Aher is a native of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State living in the United States of America. He is the chair of the USA-based Media Team, a social group formed to create awareness of the Aweil community’s position relating to the 14 Mile Area