As part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement Abyei was scheduled to have a referendum in January 2011 to decide its fate but it never took place as Khartoum and Juba disagreed on who should be able to participate.
Last year, the African Union mediation team proposed that a referendum be held in the contested region this October, but that only those residing permanently in the area would be allowed to vote in the plebiscite, and decide whether they want to join Sudan or South Sudan.
This proposal would effectively make the majority of voters come from the Dinka Ngok tribe, aligned with South Sudan, thus putting the Arab Misseriya nomads, who spend several months in Abyei every year grazing, not part of the voting.
However, Sudan swiftly rejected the plan, which received the blessing of the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC).
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