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Abyei residents in Sudan voting in referendum

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Abyei residents in Sudan voting in referendum

Post by ... on Wed Oct 30 2013, 00:50

I read this in the International New York Times on my flight this evening.
This is the online version:

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Voters cast their ballots at an abandoned school in the Abyei region, on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, on Sunday. The area, which is plagued by violence, has been in limbo for more than two years since South Sudan claimed independence, and has kept the roughly 1,250-mile border between the countries from being settled.
By ISMA’IL KUSHKUSH and NICHOLAS KULISH
Published: October 27, 2013

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Residents of the disputed Abyei region, on the border of Sudan and South Sudan, began voting in a referendum Sunday on which country to be part of. Though the voting was largely symbolic, and likely to be heavily one-sided, it could have very real consequences if it raises tensions and prompts further conflict in an area plagued with violence.

Abyei has been in limbo for more than two years since South Sudan declared independence, and as a result the border between Sudan and South Sudan, roughly 1,250 miles long, has not been settled.

The region is shared uneasily by two ethnic groups: the more-settled Ngok Dinka and the nomadic Misseriya. The Ngok Dinka, who have links to the south, were expected to vote in favor of joining South Sudan. The Misseriya people, who cross in and out of the district with their livestock, fear that if they join South Sudan their movements may be restricted and their way of life threatened — but they were not expected to take part in the referendum.

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Luka Biong, a spokesman for the Abyei Referendum High Committee, which organized the vote, told The Associated Press that there would be three days of voting. “This was a special moment, a historic moment,” he said. “This was like crowning the history of the struggle of the people of Abyei. I saw my people so determined.” Results are expected on Thursday.

Residents described the balloting as peaceful and organized, with people waiting patiently in line for their chance to vote.

Much of the tension over the referendum turns on who qualifies as a resident of Abyei, and thus a voter. The African Union does not regard the Misseriya as residents because they are in Abyei only during the dry season.

“Legally, the vote has no value, since most of the engaged parties have decided not to recognize it,” said Al-Tayib Zainalabdin, a political-science professor from the University of Khartoum. But politically, he said, it will have consequences.

Elements of both ethnic groups are heavily armed; clashes between them were especially severe in 2008, leaving hundreds of casualties. Analysts say the referendum could prompt renewed violence.

“It can cause more tension between the Ngok Dinka and the Misseriya,” Mr. Zainalabdin said, “who could take up arms and fight on their own despite the Sudanese government.”

On Sunday, the African Union accused the Sudanese government of preventing its delegation from visiting the disputed area, expressing “its deep disappointment.” It said that “Sudan must refrain from obstructing its work and extend full cooperation in support of the African Union’s efforts to manage and resolve the situation in Abyei.”

Both countries have struggled to find footing since South Sudan seceded two years ago. The Sudanese capital, Khartoum, was rocked by protests last month after the government, trying to make up for the loss of oil revenue when South Sudan broke away, stopped subsidizing gasoline, nearly doubling its price at a stroke.

South Sudan has tried to build a modern state after decades of fighting. But with little infrastructure, high infant mortality rates and ethnic divisions, the challenge has proved enormous.

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan met last week in Juba, the South Sudanese capital, and promised to go ahead with plans to establish a local government and police service for Abyei, but the Ngok Dinka have grown impatient.

“The international community is not serious,” said the Rev. Biong Kuol, a Catholic priest in Abyei, in a telephone interview. He said he had voted to join South Sudan because people there were suffering and the plans for local administration were taking too long to implement.

“It is not the right of Khartoum or Juba” to decide the region’s course, he said, “but the right of the Ngok Dinka.”


The United Nations Security Council expressed “grave concern about the highly volatile situation in Abyei area” on Thursday and called on both sides not to take unilateral action. Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, called on “Abyei community leaders to refrain from actions that could increase tensions in Abyei.”

Oil fields in the 4,000-square-mile region once provided an important share of Sudan’s oil exports and have been a source of tension between the two countries. But oil production in Abyei has significantly declined.

Much of the region is swamp and scrub brush, but there is also coveted pastureland, and a river that the two ethnic groups cannot agree how to name. The Misseriya call it the Bahr al-Arab, and the Ngok Dinka the Kiir.

Isma’il Kushkush reported from Khartoum, Sudan, and Nicholas Kulish from Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Re: Abyei residents in Sudan voting in referendum

Post by party animal - not! on Wed Oct 30 2013, 01:34

Good find, Ocean. Thank you.

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Re: Abyei residents in Sudan voting in referendum

Post by NotAvailable on Wed Oct 30 2013, 02:13

Wow, that name, the Kiir, sounds so much better. A very pretty name. You could expect to find such names written in a lot of fictional greats like Robert Jordan's novels.

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Re: Abyei residents in Sudan voting in referendum

Post by Mazy on Wed Oct 30 2013, 08:46

Thanks Ocean terrific article. Great

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Re: Abyei residents in Sudan voting in referendum

Post by Mazy on Thu Oct 31 2013, 03:36

Another point of view, till waiting for the vote to be counted.
East Africa: Caught Between Two Sudans
BY ANDREW GREEN, 30 OCTOBER 2013

Abeyi — When Chris Bak returned two weeks ago to the disputed border town of Abyei, which voted this week on whether to join Sudan or South Sudan, he barely recognised it as the place where he grew up. "Everything is dirty," he told IPS. "We were just going around and around, but we didn't [recognise] this place."

The town lies in the centre of the Abyei region, a 10,000 square kilometre area that straddles the border between Sudan and South Sudan. Both countries lay claim to the area, with its oil reserves and vast tracts of fertile land. A 2005 peace agreement ended the decades-long Sudanese civil war and paved the way for South Sudan's independence, but failed to resolve Abyei's fate.

Since he returned, Bak has been camping out in an abandoned classroom, hoping it does not rain because the school has no roof. He is sharing the room with a friend who is showing symptoms of malaria. Bak has been trying to track down a doctor, but after three days of asking around he had still not located anyone.

"There are difficulties that face us," he said. "We need to bring up Abyei."

Bak, 25, returned to Abyei after five years away to participate in a referendum initially proposed by the African Union (AU) for this month, which is meant to decide the fate of the contested region.

But Sudan refused to sign on, as the referendum would have excluded members of the pro-Sudan Misseriya community, who visit Abyei seasonally to graze their cows. In the face of Khartoum's intransigence, the AU did not organise the vote or present a new proposal.

That did not staunch the enthusiasm of the majority Dinka Ngok community who pressed ahead with a unilateral referendum that ended on Tuesday Oct. 29.

An organisation of tribal leaders, calling themselves the Abyei Referendum High Committee, began organising trips last month for people who wanted to take part in the vote. They estimate they have brought 100,000 people back to the area, though it is impossible to verify that number.

They plan to announce the results before the end of the month and it is likely they will vote to join South Sudan.

However, the AU has "strongly condemned" the move, calling it an "illegal action" and warning that it could threaten peace in the region. South Sudan has said it will refuse to acknowledge the results.

"If the people of Abyei decide, we will see to whom will they direct their results, because they said they will do it without the government of South Sudan and without the government of Sudan," South Sudan's government spokesman Michael Makuei Lueth said last week. "And if it is done without us, to whom will they direct their results?"

Dr. Alfred Lokuji, a professor of peace and rural development at the University of Juba, told IPS that the vote "is not going to accomplish much of anything" as both the AU and Juba have made it clear they will not recognise the outcome.

He does not anticipate any violence to result from the vote. However, he described the unilateral move as "symbolic," showing the Dinka Ngok community is determined to have the situation resolved.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir travelled to Juba last week for a meeting with South Sudan's President Salva Kiir. At the end of the summit, the two leaders announced plans to move ahead with a joint administration and police force for Abyei, though they failed to set a timeline on when that would happen.

The Dinka Ngok leadership, tired of living in limbo, have rejected the proposal.

In part that is because they no longer have the luxury of waiting for Juba, Khartoum and the international community to reach a permanent solution.

In 2008, fighting broke out in this area between militias supported by the Sudanese government and forces from what was then southern Sudan. Human Rights Watch estimates 60,000 people fled the violence. At the time, Bak and his family fled to Aweil, which is a five-hour drive west of Abyei and is located in South Sudan.

Fighting erupted again in 2011, only weeks before South Sudan officially split from Sudan to become the world's newest country. The battles left Abyei town in ruins. The ground is dotted with concrete foundations where houses used to stand. A toppled red-and-white cell phone tower rests crookedly on top of trees and buildings.

Having brought thousands of people back to Abyei to see the area's devastation first-hand, the Dinka Ngok leadership are facing pressure from people like Michael Acuil Deng, an engineer who has been living in Juba, to make something happen now.

"You see around, we have [to do] a lot of planning for our area to be the best," he told IPS. "Now everything is like the desert. It's crushed. Now we start from the scratch. We have to build the area."

Development is difficult in a no man's land, though.

Deng Agos Lowal stayed in the area despite the fighting. He is a member of the region's Social Welfare Commission, a locally-appointed body that attempts to provide basic services to people. With no support from either Juba or Khartoum, he said there is little they can do to actually help people, let alone track the fluid population.

"The children, the old men just die," he told IPS. "There's no medical care. It's not good."

A United Nations peacekeeping force is visible here, but Lowal said the region's uncertain future has kept most humanitarian organisations out. All anyone can do, he said, is wait for the vote to decide Abyei's fate. When that is resolved the rebuilding of Abyei can begin.

Despite the warnings from Juba and Khartoum, Dinka Ngok leaders are holding out hope that the international community will eventually recognise the outcome of their unilateral referendum.

At the very least, Dinka Ngok paramount chief Bulabek Deng Kuol said he hopes the vote means the regional and international community will no longer ignore Abyei's needs.

"We are excited to rebuild, to give our energy for everything," he told IPS. "We hope all the organisations ... are rushing here to give some help to the people here."

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Re: Abyei residents in Sudan voting in referendum

Post by Mazy on Thu Oct 31 2013, 04:46

Sudan Tribune writer's usually are pretty good. So this article is more in-depth and explains things a lot more completely.

The Defining Moment For Ngok Dinka Of Abyei
By Ngor Arol Garang

October 30, 2013
The people of Abyei are in the middle of a defining moment, a moving situation prompted by frustrations over repeated failures by Sudan and South Sudan to strike a deal settling the final status of the area. The Dinka Ngok are undertaking a unilateral vote to determine their own future, either to remain in Kordofan in the present day republic of Sudan or return to the Bahr el Ghazal region of what is now the independent state of South Sudan.

The Dinka Ngok did not want to take this path but what can they do since they have been denied the opportunity repeatedly. The Dinka Ngok people were promised an internationally recognised referendum but it has been repeatedly delayed since January 2011. They cannot be expected to fold arms and wait indefinitely.

It was the African Union which made the proposal to hold a referendum in October 2013, however what has been the benefit of attending summits and meetings on Abyei, considering that the AU’s own delegation was recently not allowed to enter the area by the Sudanese government.

Instead of approving the proposal and forwarding it to the United Nations Security Council in accordance to its 2012 roadmap (which had tight timelines during which both sides were expected to reach a consensus or take decision in the event that they fail to fix the date, appoint the electoral commission head and ask the two sides to send their nominations) the African Union decided to continue pushing the issue to the table of the two presidents who have repeatedly failed to agree. What does not this mean to people who have suffered decades of conflict? Why does the AU insist on supporting indefinite discussions which South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has admitted will not bare fruit?

It is this spiteful situation that any human being could understand the cumulative frustrations of the Ngok Dinka of Abyei which pushed them to them to this point. This could have been averted if an understanding to conduct the referendum had been reached at the last presidential summit. But it appears the impetus of the summit was more aimed at addressing the issues related to internal criticism within their respective countries.

Many Sudanese and South Sudanese citizens question whether the two ruling parties still enjoy the moral authority, legitimacy and the motivation to prioritize the Abyei problem. News headlines frequently quoted senior government officials making statements which appear as if the centres of power in Juba and Khartoum would put Abyei at the top of the agenda for the presidential summit.

Unfortunately, the highly anticipated event on which the hope of Ngok Dinka was pinned ended up discussing issues largely related to the bilateral cooperation agreement and gave little sensitivity to Abyei conflict. This was a stunning oversight as many expected the summit to be dominated by the Abyei conflict.

This is the fifth times the two heads of state have failed to strike a deal after the six months of the initial grace period given by the African Union had elapsed. The latest failure not only dashed hopes of any settlement coming out from the two countries, but proof that the two sides would never agree on the way forward, even if they were to be allowed to continue bilateral discussions for hundred years, according to President Salva Kiir in his recent assessment of the situation.
The empirical evidence supports that the status quo will continue since developments in both countries show that the regimes are undergoing a critical internal power-struggle, which resulted in some serious divisions within its core constituencies including security, military and political ideologues. These divisions in both countries are happening at the time the presidents are looking to secure support another term in office, particularly in the case of South Sudan where President Salva Kiir haa made radical changes in his cabinet, including the removal of his deputy, Riek Machar, who had openly admitted his desire to replace Kiir as president in elections in 2015.

Despite remaining in power, feels he can only secure return to the presidency at the next elections if he lubricates his bid with cash which comes from the oil precedes exported to the international markets through Sudanese territory. The continuation or oil exports through Sudan are the primary political interest of South Sudan and the Juba is not disposed to jeopardize this by pushing Khartoum too hard on issues such as Abyei.

Meanwhile Sudan, which undergoes serious economic challenges coupled with armed rebellions in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, takes the lack of visionary leadership in South Sudan as “a big plus” to gains it made in the September 2012 cooperation agreement. Indeed president Al-Bashir feels in control of the situation since his policies are implemented without objection by the leadership in South Sudan. This is seen in the manner in which the cabinet hurriedly passed the communique of the summit which contains all contentious matters ranging from security to economic issues.

According to information and broadcasting minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, on Friday 25 October, during a press briefing after attending the weekly cabinet sitting, the cabinet had agreed to order committees involved in the implementation of cooperation agreement to operationalise all the resolutions of the communique. There was no question of thorough study or even consultations to gather public views. This means that the regime will now go on a joint diplomatic outreach with Khartoum to campaign for debt relief.

This is because the government does not want questions asking specifics of the debt it will now go on a campaign to assist Sudan. The elites do not see Sudanese delegation going back home with full package while remaining scratching their heads with virtually nothing, claiming they have secured the oil flow. The flow of the oil serves the economic interest of both countries. The transit and pipeline charges are a big boost to the contracting Sudanese economy. It should not therefore be viewed as an achievement. Similarly, the four freedoms do not benefit anybody in the South. If any, it is the government of Sudan since it is the country with products to sell in our markets. We produce virtually nothing to sell to the north. Our only product is oil.

The equivalent gains from the summit to attract a smile from the people of South Sudan would have been a consensus on Abyei to conduct the referendum this month, including pulling out troops currently still occupying the northern part of Abyei in Kec (Diffra) in defiance of the United Nations Security Council resolution 2046 and the African Union roadmap, reach an understanding on the status of the contested and claimed areas, particularly abandoning a claim it lays on the 14 miles area and pull out troops from the identified designated safe demilitarized buffer zones from which the SPLA forces have withdrawn.

In summary, the summit did not benefit the country in anyway. The resolutions contained in the final communique are not different from the previous summits which did not address fundamental issues. The government of Sudan remains the sole beneficiary. The Ngok Dinka people of Abyei have spent more than fifty years moving and forging alliances with the oppressed and marginalised groups in Sudan in pursuit of their rights to return south where the area was administratively transferred to Kordofan in 1905.

It is now 108 years since the area was annexed to Kordofan and attempts to return it south has always faced difficulties, despite this right heard in formal agreements. It was first heard in the 1972 Addis Ababa accord which ended the first civil war in Sudan between the South and North, but which was not implemented just as it was not January 2011, after the same right was heard in the 2005 accord which ended the second civil war with Sudan in which they also participated as was in the past wars.

The interests and motives in participating in all these wars were not because they are war mongers nor were they enticed. They consciously joined the rebellions in pursuit of their interest, which is allowing them to decide their future in a referendum.

Since they have exhausted all the legally required opportunities, including going to court, there is nothing the international community would expect from them to do than to exercise their right by organising their own referendum and decide their fate, since chances of the two countries agreeing to settle the dispute once and for all is almost an impossible to foresee. Postponing it again with no evidential guarantee, is practically unjustifiable, and they should therefore be supported to make their own choice so their true national identity becomes known to them and their friends.

Garang is a South Sudanese Journalist in Juba. He writes for Sudan Tribune, and can be reached at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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Re: Abyei residents in Sudan voting in referendum

Post by Mazy on Fri Nov 01 2013, 05:04

99.89% Of Abyei’s Ngok Dinka Vote To Join South Sudan

October 31, 2013 (JUBA) – More than 99% of Abyei’s Ngok Dinka resident have voted in favour of joining South Sudan, according to the committee that organised the unilateral and unofficial vote.

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A man waves a South Sudanese flag as he celebrates the results of the referendum in Abyei on 31 October 2013 (Photo: Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

Luka Biong Deng, the spokesperson for the Abyei high referendum committee, told Sudan Tribune from Abyei town that 63,059 people voted to join South Sudan, representing 99.89% of votes, with just 12 or 0.2% voting to remain in Sudan.

The fate the disputed oil-producing region of Abyei, whose territorial ownership remains contested between Sudan and South Sudan, remains one of the most sensitive and divisive post-secession issues.

A total of 64,775 people registered to vote, out of which 63,433 voted and 362 were deemed invalid, said Biong.

Twenty-nine polling centres were opened during the three-day vote which took place from 27-29 October.

Preparations for the vote first commenced in March, but intensified after the Ngok Dinka paramount chief was killed in May and South Sudanese president Salva Kiir called for the region to be returned to the South.

Civil society organisations, comprising of youth, student, women and faith-based groups, as well as traditional leaders, the teachers’ union and members of the general public played critical role in mobilising the community ahead of the vote.

Although the referendum was conducted without the participation of either Sudan or South Sudan, the organising committee and observers said the process met with international standards and practices.

SHOW OF TRANSPARENCY

Media representatives from local and international news agencies which flew to the region to cover the event were granted full access, apparently to reflect the transparency of the process.

The vote was conducted peacefully, with no security interruptions from the rival Arabs Misseriya nomads reported.

Independent and non-political parties, as well as Christian and Muslim leaders in the region were among those who participated in the vote.

The decision to take unilateral action has attracted concern from regional and international institutions, amid fears it could renew tensions in the area, as well as cause an escalation in tribal conflict.

In a strongly worded statement issued on Monday, the African Union Commission (AUC) condemned the decision, describing it as an “illegal” act.

However, leaders from the Ngok Dinka community said they had been left with little option after the international community failed to intervene and ongoing negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan failed to break the deadlock.

Meanwhile, the Khartoum-aligned Misseriya tribe - who enter the region periodically to graze their cattle - has announced it plans to organise its own referendum in response to the unilateral vote organised by the Ngok Dinka.

A planned referendum on Abyei due to be held simultaneously with that of South Sudan in 2011, failed to take place amid ongoing disagreements between the two countries over who was eligible to participate in the vote.

In a bid to resolve the impasse, the AU mediation team proposed holding a referendum in Abyei this October, stipulating that only the Ngok Dinka permanently residing in the area would be allowed to take part in the plebiscite.

However, Sudan rejected the proposal, saying it ignored the eligibility of the Misseriya and that a public administration and institutions must be established first before any vote can take place.

Last week, the South Sudanese government distanced itself from the planned unilateral vote, questioning what its outcome would achieve if the results were not formally recognised by either country.

Speaking to journalists at a press conference on 20 October, South Sudanese information and broadcasting minister Michael Makuei Lueth stressed that his government had no part in the organisation of the unilateral referendum.

The comments signalled an apparent backflip, with the government earlier expressing its support and solidarity with the people of Abyei.

Both Lueth and the minister for foreign affairs, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, did not respond toSudan Tribune’s requests for comment on the outcome of the unilateral vote.

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Last edited by Mazy on Fri Nov 01 2013, 12:36; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : formatting)

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Re: Abyei residents in Sudan voting in referendum

Post by Mazy on Fri Nov 01 2013, 12:32

This is an analysis of the referendum that they just voted on.

South Sudan, What Does The Unilateral Referendum For Abyei Mean For The State's People?

BY STEPHEN ARRNO, 30 OCTOBER 2013
ANALYSIS

Misseriya women and children from the village of Goleh in Abyei district.

The on-going process of a "unilateral" referendum for Abyei has suffered condemnation by all stakeholders including the government of South Sudan.

However, this 'community referendum', as christened by the Ngok Dinka, raises serious questions regarding the complexities in the Abyei protocol, giving no options for the Ngok people but to be at odds with regional and international bodies.

The African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) was categorical in its communiqué issued after its 403rd meeting[i] when it explicitly recognized the frustration arising from a delayed referendum. Nonetheless, the AUPS sent a forthright message warning of "unilateral action" by any of the stakeholders. The chairperson of the AU Commission Ms. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma made further remarks terming the on-going plebiscite in Abyei as "illegal, irresponsible and unacceptable"[ii]. South Sudanese officials made similar remarks, including an extreme example by the Minister of Cabinet Affairs Martin Elia Lomuro who warned that if the people of Abyei do not heed to government then they are not South Sudanese[iii].

It is understood that these remarks and condemnations are being made to avert possible tensions and conflict that may arise; yet no institution, whether regional or national, took the logic of such defiance from the perspective of the Ngok Dinka. Indeed the Abyei protocol which is part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) remains and will currently go in history as the only protocol that has never been implemented since it was signed in 2004[iv].

Moreover, the Abyei protocol remains the only open protocol in the CPA that is constantly modified to accommodate serious hiccups arising between the two parties. The Abyei area has generated many sub or supplementary agreements that include the 2008 "Road Map"[v], the June 2011 "Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area"[vi] and lastly the September 2012 African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) proposal for the final status for Abyei. It is unfortunate that the essence of the protocol and its purposes have been eclipsed by the myriad subsequent agreements.

These temporary supplementary agreements dominate the scene and make any attempt to get to the crux of the original protocol futile. The two parties are trapped in endless debates on some of the provisions gained earlier as part of supplementary agreements that are meant to take the process forward and help the parties determine the final status of the region.

The Abyei protocol envisaged a delineation of the area within a few months - it foresaw the Abyei Boundary Commission's (ABC) decision on defining the area as final and binding. Nevertheless, this was not the case as the ABC report was rejected forthrightly by Sudan. No breakthrough followed until the 2008 clashes in Abyei that prompted the signing of the Abyei road map and the formation of an administration by August of the same year and agreement to refer the issue of delineation to the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration.

The subsequent ruling of the PCA on Abyei did not help either as disagreement resurfaced and the elections for the Abyei administration and the referendum were left suspended until clashes erupted in May 2011. The suspension of the referendum changed the political, administrative and social contexts. The reality on the ground today is that voters in Abyei will no longer choose between remaining in Kordofan or return to Bahr Al Ghazal as of 1905, but will choose between remaining in Sudan or joining South Sudan.

What is now considered an "empty" move by the 9 Ngok Dinka chieftains to hold a unilateral plebiscite that will get no recognition is in fact a political statement by a community that found itself caught in a cyclical political conundrum.

Through taking the law in hand via a unilateral referendum, the people of Abyei have reached out to all actors to express their disaffection for a decade of indecisiveness and the suffering, humiliation and displacement - endured twice during the CPA period.

The unfolding reality in Abyei raises moral questions regarding the political rights of the Ngok Dinka and their rights to citizenship and political participation in a context where regional and global actors have lost control over mechanisms to enforce commitment to treaties. I do not wish to reach the conclusion that it was a flawed agreement after all, but rather to outline the intricacies of treaties that are left without conclusion and are open to be renegotiated again and again.

The arrangements for conducting the referendum have changed, the context and the choices for the people of Abyei today are very different if the referendum is to take place according to the rules set in the 2004 protocol. The people of Abyei, if given a chance to vote today, will not vote to regain earlier status in Bahr Al Ghazal or ascertain status as part of Kordofan, the vote this time round is about whether to remain stateless or join either Sudan or South Sudan.
Stephen Arrno is a political analyst working in South Sudan.

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[i] The Peace and Security Council of the African Union 403rd meeting Communiqué [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
[ii] The AU strongly condemns holding of a unilateral "Referendum" in Abyei [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
[iii] South Sudan's The CITZEN newspaper Sunday, October 27, 2013 Vol 8, issue No. 595
[iv] Comprehensive Peace Agreement 2005
[v] Abyei Road Map 2008 [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
[vi] Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area June 20, 2011 [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


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Re: Abyei residents in Sudan voting in referendum

Post by ... on Sat Nov 02 2013, 15:31

Thanks for all the updates in the articles you posted, Mazy.

This link below has an interactive map that shows the demographic divide between these two cultural groups in the Abyei region: the Misseriya Arab-speaking nomadic community and the Dinka Ngok African ethnic group.
The Misseriya claim the referendum is unofficial so don't recognize it.  

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Oil fields map:
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Both Sudan and the South are reliant on their oil revenues, which account for 98% of South Sudan's budget. But the two countries cannot agree how to divide the oil wealth of the former united state. Some 75% of the oil lies in the South but all the pipelines run north. It is feared that disputes over oil could lead the two neighbours to return to war.
Geography map:
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Although they were united for many years, the two Sudans were always very different. The great divide is visible even from space, as this Nasa satellite image shows. The northern states are a blanket of desert, broken only by the fertile Nile corridor. South Sudan is covered by green swathes of grassland, swamps and tropical forest.
 George's Satellite? Concentrating 

Ethnic map:
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Sudan's arid north is mainly home to Arabic-speaking Muslims. But in South Sudan there is no dominant culture. The Dinkas and the Nuers are the largest of more than 200 ethnic groups, each with its own languages and traditional beliefs, alongside Christianity and Islam.
More maps, including Infant Mortality, Water & Sanitation at link. It's interactive, so click on it.

Abyei opts to join South Sudan in unofficial referendum


Residents of the disputed region of Abyei have voted overwhelmingly to join South Sudan in an unofficial referendum.

But the Arabic-speaking Misseriya nomadic community favouring union with Sudan boycotted the vote.

Abyei's Dinka Ngok ethnic group organised the vote, with 99.9% of voters wanting to join South Sudan.

Abyei abuts both Sudan and South Sudan - which seceded in 2011 - and is claimed by both countries.

The African Union has described the vote as a threat to peace between Sudan and South Sudan.

A 2005 peace deal was supposed to give Abyei a separate referendum on whether to be part of Sudan or South Sudan.

However, the two sides still cannot agree on who is eligible to vote in the referendum and so it has not officially been held.

'No-one will recognise it'
"The Abyei people have been suffering for a long time. People are marginalised, mistreated and their rights denied. They deserve this day," Deng Alor, chairman of the Abyei Referendum High Committee, told the Reuters news agency.

But top Misseriya chief Mukhtar Babo Nimir told the AFP news agency that "no-one in the world will recognise this referendum".

Tim Flatman, an independent observer in Abyei, said only 12 out of 63,433 people voted to be part of Sudan during the three-day poll, AFP reports.

Initial observations suggested a "very transparent process", he said.

The UN has some 4,000 peacekeepers in Abyei.

Abyei's Dinka Ngok residents are culturally and ethnically allied to South Sudan and backed its rebel army during decades of civil war against Khartoum's rule.

However, the Arabic-speaking Misseriya people also see it as their ancestral homeland and want to remain in Sudan.

North and South Sudan have suffered decades of conflicts driven by religious and ethnic divides, with an estimated 1.5 million people killed in the civil war.

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Re: Abyei residents in Sudan voting in referendum

Post by Mazy on Sat Nov 02 2013, 18:26

George explained it in a news conference one time that the politics of the Sudan are very complex and not easy to understand because there are so many different ethnic groups involved. Nothing is simple and you need to understand the diverse cultures and their ways. Also we must respect everyone's rights. I am paraphrasing here from memory.

I think that is why he doesn't get involved beyond the why one uses genocide just the fact that it is enormously wrong on all levels. It is internationally evil. The killing off of people because of their color or origin is horrific.

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Re: Abyei residents in Sudan voting in referendum

Post by ... on Sat Nov 02 2013, 18:45

Many ethnic groups but the schism is between two major cultural & ethnic worlds: Muslim Arab-speaking & African tribal.

The referendum unanimously was voted by the African Dinka Ngok of the Abyei region.
Undoubtedly dismissed by the Misseriya Arab-speaking.

It achieved confirmation by one ethnic group with which nation they identify.  I guess the referendum figures can be used in the UN or the ICC in arguing their plight.

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Re: Abyei residents in Sudan voting in referendum

Post by Mazy on Sat Nov 02 2013, 19:22

They are also speaking about another vote but I didn't have time to pursue that yet. I have been doing this day and night for quite sometime now and don't think I will ever fully understand all the complex issues but I try.

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Misseriya Youth Back Down On Counter-Referendum In Abyei

Post by Mazy on Mon Nov 04 2013, 11:15

UPDATE
MONDAY 4 NOVEMBER 2013
Misseriya youth back down on counter-referendum in Abyei

November 3, 2013 (KHARTOUM/JUBA) - A Misseriya youth groups on Sunday backed down on previous statements and announced that they have no intention to organise a counter referendum similar to what the Nogk Dina organised in the disputed area of Abyei recently.

Counting officers, part of a referendum commission, count votes in Abyei October 30, 2013.
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(Photo Reuters/Aneanu)dreea Camp

The National Youth and Student Organisation for Abyei (NYSOA), on Tuesday 29 October announced they started preparations to hold a plebiscite open to all the ethnic groups in Abyei to prove that the majority of its residents are favourable to maintain the contested area within the current Sudan.

However, the NYSOA spokesperson Hamad Sidiq who was speaking in a talk show about Abyei in Ashorooq TV on Sunday stated they have no intention to conduct an unofficial and unilateral vote like the Ngok Dinka.

"We are messengers of peace. We have no intention to follow Luka Biong and Deng Alor who implement a scheme aiming to provoke president Salva Kiir", he said.

The Sudanese co-chair of Abyei steering committee, Al-Khair Al-Faheem, warned in a statement on 31 October that Khartoum government does not support any unilateral vote to determine the fate of the disputed region. He further called to form the joint administration in line with the 20 June 2011 deal.

Al-Faheem pointed out to the regional and international condemnation of the unilateral referendum of the Ngok Dinka, and mocked the organisers saying they did it because they are now marginalised in Juba.

Sadiq also denied any mobilisation for the Misseriya fighters to wage war against the Ngok Dinka. He added they call for peaceful coexistence and a negotiated solution.

He went to accuse some foreign countries and international non-governmental groups of support the operation.
According to the final result of the referendum released on 31 October, 99.98% of the voters said yes to join the South Sudan.

The paramount chief of the Ngok Dinka and the chiefs of their nine chiefdoms on the same day signed a declaration where they decide to become part of the Republic of South Sudan.

A British volunteer Tim Flatman and his fiancé Hannah Cross said in a press release issued on 31 October they were the only foreign observer to the unilateral referendum .

Flatman who works for the with local church to support the displaced Ngok Dinka north of the river Kiir further said the vote was "extraordinary achievement".

"In many respects the Abyei referendum exceeded the standards met by the South Sudanese referendum held in January 2011", he further said

Also the South Sudan Council of Churches in a statement on 1 November announced it support to the referendum process and called on the African Union, United Nations and the governments of Sudan and South Sudan to recognise the outcome of the unilateral referendum.

"We call on the AU, UN, and the governments of Sudan and South Sudan to respect the decision of the people of Abyei" said a statement signed by Rev Mark Akec Cien, the deputy general secretary of the South Sudan Council of Churches

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Re: Abyei residents in Sudan voting in referendum

Post by Mazy on Mon Nov 04 2013, 11:22

Ocean you formatted you article with the map so well I copied yours instead of using the link. I save all the pertinent information on Darfur and George naturally. Ones with that kind of maps are usually a pain, thanks.

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Re: Abyei residents in Sudan voting in referendum

Post by party animal - not! on Mon Nov 04 2013, 14:06

A pretty good example of how complicated and intra-tribal the situation is in the area......let's hope they can forget all previous historical in-fighting between themselves, and focus on the mutual enemy and the bigger picture

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Re: Abyei residents in Sudan voting in referendum

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