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Kafia Kingi (Hofrat Al-Nuhas)

Names: Kafia Kingi is sometimes also referred to as Hofrat Al-Nuhas, meaning ‘copper pit’ in Arabic.

Disputed between: Sudan’s South Darfur State and South Sudan’s Western Bahr al-Ghazal State.

Area: 25,000 km2 (roughly the size of Puerto Rico)

Background: Kafia Kingi was due to be transferred from South Darfur in Sudan to South Sudan’s Western Bahr al-Ghazal State as part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

The introduction below is taken from ’The Kafia Kingi Enclave People, politics and history in the north–south boundary zone of western Sudan’ by Edward Thomas as part of the Contested Borderlands published by the Rift Valley Institute (RVI):

The enclave is sometimes referred to as Hofrat al-Nahas (which means ‘copper pit’), after an ancient mining settlement at its northern edge. Its area is roughly contiguous with the Radom Biosphere Reserve, a national park recognised by the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scien- tific Organisation (UNESCO) The enclave’s territory covers 12,500 km2, roughly the size of Puerto Rico. Formerly part of Bahr al-Ghazal, the enclave is currently under the administration of South Darfur.

This report includes an overview of the history of Kafia Kingi covering the period from the seventeenth century to the present day. During that time place names, administrative boundaries and ethnic groups have all changed, and most administrative terms have changed their range of reference.

Bahr al-Ghazal, which means Gazelle River in Arabic, is a tributary of the White Nile. In the nineteenth century, Darfur was an independent sultanate, and Bahr al-Ghazal was the name for a colonial province that covered the western Nile basin in the south of Turco-Egyptian Sudan. The Kafia Kingi enclave was part of Bahr al-Ghazal province when Sudan gained independence in 1956. In 1960 it was transferred to Darfur, which had become a province of Sudan in 1916. In 1974, Darfur was divided into two provinces, and in 1981 it was made a unified region of two provinces, North Darfur and South Darfur. In 1994, Sudan’s nine regions were replaced by 26 states (subsequently reduced to 25). Bahr al-Ghazal regionb was divided into four states: Lakes, Warrap, Northern Bahr al-Ghazal and Western Bahr al-Ghazal.

Local administrative districts in South Darfur state have become progressively smaller in area since 1974, a development whose political significance is discussed in this report. Since 2009, the enclave has come under Radom locality; before 2009, Radom locality was part of a larger Buram locality (Buram province before 2003); and before 1974, Buram province was part of a larger Nyala province.

The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement requires a return to the 1956 border: if this requirement is implemented, the Kafia Kingi enclave will become part of Raga county in the Southern Sudanese state of Western Bahr al-Ghazal. In 1960, Raga county was called Raga sub-district of the Western district of Bahr al-Ghazal.
The town of Said Bandas appears on many early maps, named after its founder. Most people now call it Boro Medina.

Download the full report published by the Rift Valley Institute here:

PDF - 2.5 Mb
RVI | The Kafia Kingi Enclave People, politics and history in the north–south boundary zone of western Sudan | Edward Thomas


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