Home | News    Monday 6 June 2011

SPLM adamant there will be no concessions over Abyei

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By Ngor Arol Garang

June 5, 2011 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), restated its position on Saturday that the contested oil-producing region of Abyei will not remain part of north Sudan.

A SPLM statement to the media on June 4 said Abyei “will not and will never be part of the North whether by force or dialogue.” The northern army (SAF) took Abyei by force in May 21 following two attacks reportedly by southern armed groups on UN-accompanied SAF convoys in the region.

The SPLM, the former rebel movement which became the ruling political party of the semi autonomous region of South Sudan, after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, was joined by the US and UN Security Council among others in condeming the military invention.

Abyei’s occupation by the SAF has raised fears of renewed conflict. The last north-south civil war lasted over two decades and resulted in the deaths of an estimated 2 million people.

In Saturday’s statement the SPLM accused the National Congress Party (NCP) - Sudan’s ruling party and co-signature to the CPA - of “deliberately” violating terms of what was agreed in the Abyei protocol of the 2005 peace deal.

“We in the government of south Sudan and in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement condemn the continuous deliberate violation of terms of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement by the government in Khartoum, particularly the National Congress Party.”

“One such example of continuous serious violations of terms of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is the recent invasion of Abyei by the Sudanese Armed Forces. We strongly condemn it because it is unconstitutional and against the Abyei Protocol which is part of the 2005 peace agreement the two parties signed to implement”, reads part of the statement extended to The Juba Post newspaper.

The statement signed by Barnaba Marial Benjamin Bil, minister of information and official spokesperson of the government of south Sudan, argued that the issue of Abyei should already have been resolved through the self determination vote the region was granted as part of the CPA and the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague defining Abyei’s borders.

Minister Marial denied having elements of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army operating in the area as independent forces. The only SPLA troops were part of Joint Integrated Units (JIUs) drawn from both the SAF and SAF as per the 2005 peace deal. the statement said. Since 2005, former rebels, the SPLA have been the official army of South Sudan.

“There are no SPLA forces in Abyei. The government is clear and without any doubt that there is no presence of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Abyei as stipulated by the Abyei protocol. The SPLA soldiers in Abyei are component of the Joint Integrated Units mandated by the Comprehensive Agreement to monitor and protect the agreement. So, the claim by the government blaming the SPLA is unjustified”, the statement further said.

Speaking at an Abyei community briefing on Saturday, at Nyakuron Cultural Center in Juba, James Kok Ruei, a minister of Humanitarian and Disaster Management of the government of South Sudan said Abyei will not and will never be part of the north whether regardless of what Sudan’s president Omar Hassan al-Bashir says.

“There are some people who think holding on Abyei will have negative impact on the liberation of South Sudan. This is wrong concept and people who believe the issue of Abyei will affect independence of South Sudan are wrong”, says Kok amid applause and ululations saying Abyei is 100% South Sudan.

Despite Abyei’s vote, to decide whether it would join the South or remain in the north, being postponed indefinately South Sudan’s independence referendum went ahead on schedule in January. An overwhelming 98 percent of Southern Sudanese voted for secession paving the way for South Sudan to separate from the North on July 9.

Abyei was transfered into Kordofan, on the northern side of the north-south border, in 1905 by British colonial administrators. It has remained there ever since and was a key battle ground during the second Sudanese civil war (1983-2005).

Most residents of Abyei are from the Dinka Ngok tribe an offshoot of South Sudan’s largest ethnic group - the Dinka. The SPLM wanted the Dinka Ngok and other residents of Abyei to be the only groups allowed to vote in the referendum. However, the NCP demanded that the Misseriya a largely nomadic Arab tribe who enter the fertile region with their cattle for a few months of the year, to also be accorded voting rights.

Since Abyei’s plebsicite did not go ahead in January tension has been rising, culminating in the SAF taking the area by force and refusing to leave until a solution is found.

Minister Kok told the gathering in Juba on Saturday that he disagrees with people who believe that the issue of Abyei should be treated separately as it will will have negative impact on the smooth independence of South Sudan.

“Let me tell you. Abyei will come to the south whether Bashir likes it or not. It will come to the south whether by force or talks because this land is ours. This was I supported its inclusion in the draft transitional constitution of south”, said minister Kok.

Kok said that what happened in Abyei could happen anywhere in the South and that the conflict in Abyei should not be viewed as an isolated conflict from issues between North and South.

The minister is one of the ministerial committee formed by the president of the government of South Sudan to visit areas to which internally displaced persons from Abyei fled. The SPLM say that as many as 80,000 have been displaced by the fighting. The UN have put the figure at up to 40,000.

Kok was part of a delegation that visited the areas to which people had been displaced, visiting Mayen Abun and Turalei; Wau, the capital of Western Bahr el Ghazal; and Kuajok, capital of Warrap.

"The condition of those we met and talked to them were appalling”, he said.

Luka Biong Deng, a former minister in the national government, told the meeting he would open a case against president Bashir at the International Criminal Court for the conduct of his forces in Abyei. Bashir is also the head of the Sudanese army.

Biong, who is a native of Abyei, resigned from the post of cabinet affairs minister in the government of unity in Khartoum over the northern army’s occupation of Abyei.

“By all means and costs, Bashir will one day appear before an international court to answer crimes committed in Abyei. It will take time but it will happen”, says Deng.

Bashir became the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity for his government’s counter insurgency campaign in Sudan’s western region of Darfur. the next year genocide was added to list of crimes Bashir is accused of committing in Darfur.

Demonstrations were held in variuos towns across South Sudan over the weekend in solidarity with the people of Abyei.

“There was demonstration here in Juba organized by the government and people of Central Equatoria State. Similar demonstrations were carried out in Yambio, Torit and elsewhere in greater Equatoria. This disapproved previous claims by Khartoum and especially the National Congress Party that people of South Sudan will not support Abyei”, said Deng.

Deng Alor Kuol, minister of regional cooperation of the government of south Sudan, who also comes from Abyei, at the same briefing, assured the people of Abyei they had the support of the people and government of South Sudan.

He accused president Bashir of supporting what he called ethnic cleansing in the area. The SPLM have claimed that nearly 100 people were killed when the SAF took control of Abyei.

Alor repeated Biong’s threat to file a case against Bashir at an international court for the actions of the SAF in Abyei. Mass looting and buring of property followed the SAF take over of Abyei town.

The minister said Khartoum’s National Congress Party was holding onto Abyei because of its oil and its fertile land. Abyei does still produce some oil but most fields were drawn outside the region when the issues was refered to the Permanent Court if Arbitration in The Hague in 2008.

However, neither side wishes to back down over the increasingly symbolic fate of Abyei, with the region being compared by some analysts to other disputed territories such as Kashmir and Jerusalem.

(ST)

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  • 6 June 2011 08:15, by liberator3

    SPM( communists propagandists)

    Well, Abyei is in the North Sudan by force as of Now.!

    You know how to talk the talk but always mum on how to walk the walk. is better to just shut up and do your plan it there is one silently. Barking and repeating the such word as ’’Abyei belong to South" a thousands times won’t help bring it back. you are bunches of looters, who were caught sleeping stealing the Southern coffers!!!!!

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    • 6 June 2011 13:01, by Abikach Ayuel

      Gud comments but action speaks louder than words ! Why don’t we sacrifice another 2 million life to liberate any inch of Souh SuDAN land claims by ruthless khartoum Regime !

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  • 6 June 2011 08:21, by George Bol

    Dear South Sudanese,

    It very clear that minister Kok Ruei saw and understood the suffering of our innocent children and old people chase away in Abyei by SAF.

    The only thing that the NCP do not understand is the strengh of SPLM at the moment. Dear brothers,the issue of Abyei has been disturbing me since it happen and I really can sleep comfortably.

    I need to be clear and straightforward to my South Sudanese concerning the unlawful capturing of Abyei.

    We should be ready dear all for war because Jallab do not listen when you always talk in peace.

    Whether Pagan or Kiir did not show their colors still we have war that approached and these has started in Abyei and now in the two states of Blue and Nuba.

    I am not against the tone of Salva Kiir or the silence of our leaders ,but i really encourage our SPLA and the Youth in the South to be ready that the war in the borders and oil can not be avoided because the the Jallab think that when Dr Garang and many other founders are gone,they think that they are going to get everything very esailily. Let be ready!
    thanks to Kok for his words and stood with him that Abyei is for South whether Arab want it or not.

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  • 6 June 2011 08:24, by Dani

    Strongly stated thank you SPLA this is your real time to raise your voice, north was thinking that there are no males from the South. they use our own brothers to fight us. if we come together nothing more will defeat us we already have our base and who can we fear again. everyone is watching us and therefore we can also put our interesting on the issue of Abyei as it is part of our country. But be aware of internal issues in the South.
    By Dani K’la

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  • 6 June 2011 08:53, by Ajiech M. Chol

    SPLM should means what they say this time rather then let’s lives with humiliation. In addition, SPLM shouldn’t run after the NCP asking for peace while they’re not interested in peace. In strictly speaking, Abyei can never be part of the north whether by war or peace we will get it. Last & not the least, SPLM should do everything possible in their capacity to get Abyei back from those criminals called NCP run by outlaw gangsters.

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  • 6 June 2011 09:18, by Aleu

    Ngor Garang.

    Omar al Bashir is become too arrogant. He is not thinking that, one day he will be like Saddam Hussein but I do think he will face arrest. The attacked on Abyei show Omar al Bashir is leading people by force and not by the people who assume to re-elected him. He disolving Abyei Administrative without even calling first V.P. Salva Kiir to talk. He seem to make isolated his North Sudanese from Southern Sudanese and he had no Idea that, a lot of Northern Sudanese part are favoring Southern Sudan. Thus, it is also very likely that,Khartoum government will remain a tiny State in the long run because people are so tried used of force and too much killing throughout and I belief this is good time for any region in Sudan to go with Southern Sudan.

    Omar al Bashir has become too arrogant when his Army captured Abyei but someone from his Northern Army are still very skeptical that, the new war could even let North Sudanese shares destruction and they understand one thing that, billion of dollars already delcine before Southern Sudan’s independence. He had been refused to take good advice early when his member from Northern Sudan telling him don’t try another war with Southern Sudan, source say, he told indictment to let this problem end peaceful because the war will not prevent Southern Sudanese adding, how many years these people fighting and never end, but Bashir did not listen.

    I ask all Cdrs of the Formers SPLA to returns to the SPLA/ SSAF Units so they will have that kind of tactics they used during the SPLA Movement on defeating SAF. Abyei is not big like the whole Equatoria regions. Abyei is not big as the Rumbek and Tonj were been taken by the SPLA. Abyei is not big like South Blue Nile was when the SPLA have defeated SAF in many times. We Southern Sudanese can even taken White State and Kosti areas if the North Sudan want this bad relationship to continues we can do it.

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    • 6 June 2011 10:28, by Sala Gai

      To all reader

      We shouldn’t Fighting on website guys move out, from where you are toward Abyei fight war their rather barking around like dog.

      Some one like Mr. Salah Gai who know how fighting will never talk like you are guys just pick up your gun from SPLA and move toward border fight Arab

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  • 6 June 2011 11:41, by Paul Ongee

    The takeover of Abyei by SAF was a premeditated attack. It was something carefully planned before by Omer Hassan Al-Bashir. SPLA cannot lay ambush and attack a SAF’s JIU convoy escorted by UNMIS. The question is why did SAF destroy the strategic bridge linking Abyei and Northern Bahr El Ghazal and expects Abyei residents to return to their hometown?

    What kind of security arrangements that Khartoum is talking about that would allow the indigenous to come back but not the Messeriya who flocked only to loot, pillage and burn down the town? If Messeriya are the residents of Abyei as always alleged by NCP, how many were killed during the takeover of Abeyi by SAF? What kinds of property of Messeriya looted by SAF and the Messeriya themselves?

    Why is Khartoum shamelessly lying to the whole world that Abyei is now safe for Dinka Ngok to return home while Messeriya people are now given plots to build as quickly as possible? Khartoum needs to know that Dinka Ngok cannot be forced to become citizens of South Kordofan and Messeriya likewise. There is a difference between historical residents of an area and administrative transfer.

    Administrative transfer of Abyei in 1905 to the North should never be interpreted as the transfer of land and its people to the North. CPA has clearly outlined the Abyei roadmap to choose whether the residents of Abyei will continue with their present status or go back to South Sudan after holding Abyei referendum which Omer Hassan Al-Bashir intentionally started violating CPA by “authoritatively including” the rights of Messeriya to vote. This is a violation ever known besides systematic attack on Abyei militarily that initially started in May 2008 simply because he is the one holding the key of getting Abyei referendum held or not. In May over 150 people were killed in Abyei by SAF compared to 22 SAF soldiers killed in a premeditated attack by SAF on pretext to occupy Abyei because of oil.

    Now everything seems to have happened as Khartoum wished but the question is how can Khartoum hold Abyei hostage without holding a referendum or withdrawing from the area? What right does Khartoum have to resettle nomadic Messeriya people in Abyei as it’s happening in Darfur, disregarding the decision of PCA on the borderline agreed upon in The Hague? Is Khartoum seeing it as a mere confrontation with SPLM, but not with regional and international community whose efforts over the drawn borderline in The Hague was accepted by both Khartoum and Juba?

    Khartoum can describe the attack as a response at the “right time” as was previously stated and expected by NCP officials and its media outlets. Does Khartoum believe that SPLA is coward and doesn’t have the right time to response to recycle attack over Abyei which rightfully belongs to South Sudan?

    Despite the track record of signing agreements and dishonoring them, Khartoum must start realizing that the end game is rapidly approaching once and for all. Abyei will have to go back to where it was, but not to where it has been administratively before signing CPA, disputing ABC report and heading to The Hague. Khartoum cannot violate CPA, ABC and PCA in broad daylight without facing severe consequences.

    Hence, Khartoum got to prepare for the D-Day if it doesn’t want SAF and all its deployed military equipment to be owned or withdrawn by the forces of logic. Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, should remember that his premeditated attack on Abyei has been studied and conclusion reached to deal with it once and for all. The question remains is how will Messeriya appeal for their grazing rights in the future if denied access to pasture by ROSS because of their long history of alliance and organized crime against humanity with Khartoum to kill Dinka Ngok during the war and to displace indigenous people of Abyei after CPA?

    The looming long term economic woes of the North cannot be solved by violating CPA intentionally, amassing troops along the North-South borders, attacking, killing, looting and pillaging or burning Abyei town with the hope of resettling neglected Messeriya and annexing Abyei militarily to the North. It’s a wrong approach that is likely to have serious repercussions.

    The imminent economic shock is a result of reluctance to implement CPA peacefully, honor The Hague’s decision, discuss post-referendum and post-secession arrangements, and demarcate North-South borders as expected within the given timeframe besides conducting popular consultation of the two states of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan on time.

    Omer Hassan Al-Bashir should never think that South Sudan is the only land-locked country in the Africa or the world that desperately needs it assistance and expertise. He should never believe that Northern oil pipeline in the only route of Southern oil to international market. South Sudan does not need the expertise or technical assistance from the NCP that has repeatedly proven to be criminal and will continue to be aggressive neighbor.

    What is the difference between Abyei and Halayeb in terms of resources? I believe Halayeb Triangle got more resources than Abyei and the inhabitants are Sudanese not Egyptians but Omer Hassan Al-Bashir is the most coward Sudanese President who only makes political speeches but backs away from visiting Halayeb. He will soon do the same to Abyei before or after July 9, 2011unless he wants unexpected regime change in Khartoum. Hold your breath folks. Abyei is Southern geographically, ethnically, linguistically and culturally. It will remain part and parcel of South Sudan without any question.

    Paul Ongee
    Khartoum Watch

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  • 6 June 2011 17:01, by Emmanuel Ajang Solomon

    ABYEI.ABYEI.ABYEI.

    dear brothers we are waiting for the independent of our new nation and the issue will be solve, if it took us to 21 years to achieve the independent, divided by towns Abyei will only make 2 month finish its case by all means be assured.

    I think Khartoum will not only fail to do it with us but will find it difficult to handle itself from all those that will claimed the Government and their rights for quiet a long time or they will demand the second vice president like Darfur.

    Whatever Khartoum is dong at the moment is like a threat in order to put us in weak position to accept things for 10 or 5 years mostly oil, debts,Border and all the out standing issues, but all in all time will tell them or make know our position.

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