The Future of South Sudan: Report from the International Peace Institute

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While this is an exciting period for the people of South Sudan, the future presents them (and their neighbors in the North) with many difficult challenges. The status of Abyei and postreferendum issues between North and South—e.g., citizenship, oil sharing, border demarcation, currency, and debts, among others—are yet to be resolved.


On March 14th, the International Peace Institute held a meeting that brought together experts working on Sudan from the UN Secretariat, UN member states, the African Union, and the NGO community to discuss the postreferendum environment and statebuilding in South Sudan. In particular, the discussions focused on strategies that the UN, its member states, other multilateral institutions, and NGOs can pursue to help the parties to resolve postreferendum issues and the Abyei impasse, and to assist the people of South Sudan in building an effective, inclusive, and legitimate state.


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Tags: Abyei, South Sudan, postreferendum, statebuilding

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Was anything at the meeting said about the Ministry of Peace in South Sudan and its role in building a peaceful and inclusive state?

Overview of Abyei Land.

The Abyei Area  is an area of 10,460 km²  (4,039 sq mi) in Sudan accorded "special administrative status" by the 2004 Protocol on the resolution of the Abyei conflict in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the Second Sudanese Civil War. Considered a historical bridge between northern and Southern Sudan, the territory had previously been considered part of the larger district of Abyei within the now-abolished state of West Kurdufan. Under the terms of the Protocol, the Abyei area has been declared, on an interim basis, to be simultaneously part of the states of South Kurdufan and Northern Bahr el Ghazal.


In contrast to the borders of the former district, the Protocol defined the territory as “the area of the nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms transferred to Kordofan in 1905”. A multinational border commission subsequently established this to be those portions of Kordofan south of 10°22′30″ N. However, following continued disputes that erupted into violence and threatened the CPA, an international arbitration process redrew Abyei's boundaries in 2009 to make it significantly smaller, extending no further north than 10°10′00" N. This revised border has been since endorsed by all parties to the dispute.


It is claimed that the Dajo people were located in the region of Abyei prior to the seventeenth century, before being displaced by new migrants. From at least the eighteenth century Abyei was inhabited by the agro-pastoralist Ngok Dinka, kin to the Dinka of Southern Sudan. The Messiria, a nomadic Arab people, grazed their cattle through Abyei in an annual cycle. The Messiria base is Muglad, where the Messiria spend much of the year, though they are forced to move south to the Bahr river basin in Abyei during the dry season. Records from this time state that the Ngok Dinka and Messiria had amicable relations. At the establishment of the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium, the Messiria were predominantly located in the province of Kordofan (considered “northern”), while the Ngok Dinka were located in Bahr el Ghazal (considered “southern”). However, in 1905 the British redistricted the nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms into Kordofan.


The two peoples began to take separate paths with the onset of the First Sudanese Civil War (1956–1972), in particular the 1965 massacre of 72 Ngok Dinka in the Misseriya town of Babanusa. The Ngok Dinka were thus drawn to the Anyanya, while the Messiria were favored by the Khartoum-based government and became firmly associated with the north. The 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement that ended the war included a clause that provided for a referendum allowing Abyei to choose to remain in the north or join the autonomous South. This referendum was never held and continued attacks against Ngok Dinka led to the creation of Ngok Dinka unit in the small Anyanya II rebellion, which began in Upper Nile in 1975. The discovery of oil in the area, among other north-south border regions, led President Gaafar Nimeiry to try the first of many initiatives to redistrict oil rich areas into northern administration.


The Ngok Dinka unit of Anyanya II formed one of the foundations of the rebel movement at the beginning of the Second Civil War in 1983. Many Ngok Dinka joined the rebels upon the outbreak of hostilities. Partially as a result of their early entry into the war, many Ngok Dinka rose to leadership positions in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), becoming closely associated with John Garang. In contrast, the Messiria joined the hostilities on the side of the government in the mid-1980s. They formed frontline units as well as Murahleen, mounted raiders that attacked southern villages to loot valuables and slaves. By the end of the war the intense fighting had displaced most Ngok Dinka out of Abyei, which the Misseriya state as justification for ownership of the area.


As of December 2010, the PCA border has not been demarcated and there is still no agreement on who constitutes a "resident of Abyei" for the purposes of voting in the Abyei referendum. In Abyei the Dinka Ngok and Messiria tribe are engaged in territorial disputes. To avoid potential conflict between north and south, or Ethiopia Eritrea situation, the international players need to step in to resolve the tension. 




Great narration of the history of Abyei of the Ngok Dinka.

Good Morning!

Abyei is South Sudanese Soil 100 percent without bargaining, the messiriya are the Arab travellers seeking Pasture and Water. i comment the Ruling of Hague is binding and final.

In Politics there are always interests and each party is expected to concede in order to reach a solution. However, in the case of Sudan as a whole, Black Sudanese have conceded more than expected. The history of Sudan is that the land of the black Africans Sudanese was invaded by the Europeans and Arabs slave traders, and century later, the European left as the human rights criticism mount on slavery of black Africans. But the Arabs had many children with African women who were slaves and those children where neither Africans nor Arabs, they were in between, with light skin color, what the French would call Malatos. It is this generation of Arabs that we call in Sudan Arabs, Misseriya, Janjaweed, Mujaheedin etc. They are generally described as such for their Arab culture and traditions. They were not accepted in the Arab world, nor by the Africans, and they are without identity and distinct language, other than Arabic language, with such confused identity, they decided to fight and claim the land everywhere they find themselves especially northern Sudan. 


Over the decades, with advantage to education over black African Sudanese, during the colonial rule, they had acquired political power dominating the black African Sudanese and claiming over the land, and went further to call the land Islamic state, introducing Islamic Sharia law. They expanded into Darfur and Abyei grabbing more land, and now they are showing their own color and muscles, claiming Abyei. I think the black African Sudanese have been very generous to even allow these people without identity to have a piece of land. We should recall that the war between the north and south started in 1955, before the actual independence of Sudan in January 1956. The war was triggered by domination, discrimination, marginalization and oppression over the black African Sudanese since colonial era. Nevertheless, the future of south Sudan was determined in a referendum votes last January 2011, in which the black Africans in south Sudan voted overwhelmingly with 98.6% for independence from the northern oppressive and discriminative regime, and are waiting for the official declaration of the independence on the 9th July 2011; six weeks from now. The invasion of Abyei is seen as frustration and anger by the northern Arab people. It is an act of aggression toward the black Sudanese in the south, and owners of the original land the Sudan.

In conclusion, Abyei was annexed to be administered from the north in 1905, meaning it belongs to south Sudan. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) had granted that the people of Abyei option to vote in a referendum, to choose their own destiny, but the northern Arabs have blocked the referendum process since 2009 as stipulated in the CPA  and the northern Arabs knows very well that the black African Sudanese; Dinka Ngok would choose to be in south. The solution to the dispute is very simple, sent the international observer and let the people vote in order to end blood shed. 


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