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Khartoum says Juba withdrew army from contested border area

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May 2, 2015 (El DAEIN) – A government official in East Darfur state said that South Sudanese army (SPLA) has withdrawn from the contested Samaha border region area following recent clashes between the Sudanese army and rebel Justice and Equality Forces (JEM).

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South Sudanese soldiers withdraw from the garrison town of Jau, at the disputed border with Sudan March 17, 2013 (REUTERS/Hereward Holland)

Sudan had made several complaints to the UN Security Council (UNSC) regarding South Sudan’s army occupation of Samaha area in East Darfur which lies 30 km. north of the 1956 border line and the al-Miram area in South Kordofan state, 14 km. north of the same border line.

The commissioner of Bahar Al-Arab locality, Salim al-Hassan, disclosed that the SPLA had withdrawn from Samaha following the defeat of the JEM in Gouz Dango in South Darfur state.

Last weekend, the Sudanese government announced that its forces crushed JEM fighters coming from South Sudan to South Darfur and said that it inflicted heavy losses in lives and equipment on them and captured dozens of POW’s and military vehicles.

Khartoum and Juba regularly trade accusations of supporting rebel groups from both sides.

Al-Hassan told the pro-government Sudan Media Center (SMC) website on Saturday that they shut down East Darfur state borders with South Sudan, adding that the SPLA withdrew from the area for fear of clashing with the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) who are carrying out wide combing operations on the borders.

He pointed out that troops have been deployed along the borders with South Sudan from Shikan area to Um Ajaja area in order to prevent infiltration of rebel groups.

The commissioner revealed that East Darfur government plans to implement additional security measures in Samaha area and its surroundings, stressing the state’s southern border are protected against any attempts to penetrate the borders.

He called for establishing services and development projects for the pastoral tribes in order to encourage their settlement, saying the move would reduce conflicts which arise between them and the farmers.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July 2011, but the relationship between the two nations remains tense.

According to Enough Project, Sudan and South Sudan’s border conflict, which flared dramatically in the spring of 2012, has the potential of escalating further if steps are not taken toward peace and security between the two countries.

Observers, however, argue that negotiations between the two countries remain the best means for settling the disputed border, related security arrangements, outstanding financial and oil-related issues, and the final status of the contested Abyei region.

(ST)

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  • 3 May 2015 06:36, by Eastern

    Kiir’s government cannot afford to open another war front with the Sudan. The government is almost on its knees economically. Juba is facing acute drinking water shortage and its rainy season, cholera looming large.

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    • 3 May 2015 09:04, by Rommel

      Eastern:

      And this is precisely why Salva Kiir is behaving like a weak, caterwauling fool. He has weakened our military, weakened our ability to defend ourselves and has allowed Khartoum to occupy the Kafia Kingi enclave - an area larger than Lebanon. It’s a bit rich for Khartoum to be tending complaints to the UN Security Council about occupation. After Salva is gone, we’ll get Kafia Kingi back.

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      • 3 May 2015 10:27, by Rommel

        This area that the Rizeigat call Sahafa [or Samaha] is known to us as Kiir Adem, and it has never belonged to the Rizeigat as part of their Dar -homeland- at any point in history. They don’t have any settlements in the area; they merely make seasonal use of this area - an area that has Dinka settlements. Allow me to provide a little needed historical background on an area known as ’Mile 14’.

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        • 3 May 2015 10:48, by Rommel

          The Kiir river (or the Bahr-El-Arab) to the Arabs has historically served as the boundary between Darfur and Bahr el Ghazal. The then Governor-General of Darfur in 1881 - Slatin Pasha- made it clear that the boundary between Darfur and Bahr el Ghazal was the Kiir river. I will now cite him on this:

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          • 3 May 2015 10:49, by Rommel

            The Darfur Frontier has however been defined. It runs from Foga south westwards between Dam Gamad and Um Shanga, west of Zalata district to Hafir Ogr which is shared by inhabitants of both Kordofan and Darfur: Thence it runs southwards, west of Dar Homr to the Bahr-El-Arab which is the northern boundary of the Bahr-El-Ghazal Province.

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            • 3 May 2015 10:54, by Rommel

              The Rizeigat are claiming areas South of the river based on a misinterpretation of a Condominium era agreement — the Munroe-Wheatley agreement of 1924; an agreement that only granted grazing rights to the Rizegat 14 miles South of the Kiir - into Dinka Malual territory... and -I have read it- and nowhere in the text does it sanction a formal border adjustment or transfer to the Darfur province.

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              • 3 May 2015 10:56, by Rommel

                The colonial Munroe-Wheatley agreement did not confer outright ownership of this *Dinka land* to the Rizeigat. The Munro-Wheatley agreement did not sanction a formal border adjustment or transfer to the Darfur province, but was merely intended to harmonise the grazing and land use rights of the Dinka who inhabit the area and the Rizegat who seasonally make use of its pastures.

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                • 3 May 2015 11:00, by Rommel

                  Allow me to quote the Munroe-Wheatley agreement:

                  The Arabs have general permission to enter the Western District Bahr El Ghazal Province to water and graze their cattle, between the river SOPO on the East and the river SHELEIKA on the West, and North of a line approximately twenty miles South of the river UMBELACHA.

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                  • 3 May 2015 11:03, by Rommel

                    The Munroe-Wheatley Agreement was preceded by yet another colonial "agreement" — the Savile-Burges-Watson Agreement of 1918; an "Agreement" that permitted the Rizeigat to *graze* 40 miles south of the Kiir river in Dinka Malual territory. The Dinka were not at all happy with this colonial dictate and so a meeting was convened - a meeting that resulted in the Munroe-Wheatley Agreement,

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                    • 3 May 2015 11:04, by Rommel

                      that then redefined the extent of the area that the Rizeigat were allowed to *graze* on in this Dinka land from what the Savile-Burges-Watson Agreement had previously afforded them, which was 40 miles south of the Kiir river — to just 14 miles in the Munroe-Wheatley Agreement of 1924.

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                      • 3 May 2015 11:09, by Rommel

                        Just to repeat myself:

                        The 1918 Savile-Burges-Watson agreement permitted the Rizegat to graze 40 miles South within the territory of the Malual Dinka. When the Dinka duly opposed this "agreement" that gave the Rizegat such unfettered licensed to graze on Dinka land that far south, it was then revised, reduced and limited to 14 miles in the subsequent Munroe-Wheatley agreement of 1924.

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  • 3 May 2015 10:25, by Gäär

    You opened the war against your own brothers, now can you smell this one coming? Kiir you’re such a dumb president of all time. We will never have another fool like you again. never.

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  • 3 May 2015 12:49, by Northern Sudanese

    Sudan should focus on getting back Halaiib from Egypt. South Sudan must focus on getting backk Illemi triangle from Kenya. I know our countries are too big for our armed forces to fully protect but this is unacceptable.

    whether you like it or not, the border disagreements between North and South Sudan are temporary. the border itself will disappear within a decade or 2.

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