SUDAN WATCH: Sudan's Misariyah tribe sees Abyei Report as a call for war and seeks 'traditional' settlement to border row

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sudan's Misariyah tribe sees Abyei Report as a call for war and seeks 'traditional' settlement to border row

An Arab tribe in Sudan wants to resolve a territorial dispute over the southern Abyei region through tribal elders rather than a border commission, a tribal leader said Sunday. Sudan Tribune report June 19, 2006:
The Misariyah and Dinka Ngok tribes have been locked in a heated dispute with each claiming ownership of the territory, and the Misariyah have angrily rejected boundaries proposed in a report by an international commission for the district.

"This report is a call for war. It is rejected in total and in detail," Sadek Abu Nimir, a senior leader of the Misariyah tribe, said.

Nimir's comments came in response to statements by Carlo Kojgor, head of the Dinka Ngok community in north Sudan, that an administration should be formed to oversee the boundary issues -- but excluding the Masiriyah tribe.

An administration "as provided for in the Abyei Protocol should be set up immediately", but "Misariyah participation in this administration is absolutely rejected", Kojgor was quoted as saying in the Sudanese newspaper Al-Sudani.

The Misariyah are Arab nomads who formed pro-government militias during the two-decade war between Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), while the Dinka Ngok are mainly farmers who sided with the SPLA in the conflict.

Under a January 2005 peace deal between the government and the SPLA, the district is one of three granted special status during six years of interim autonomy in the south, leading to a referendum on independence.

Nimir argued that a traditional method of tribal mediation was more suitable to solving the border dispute, which he believes threatens the peace agreement.

"Abyei can be a poisoned knife in the side of the (peace agreement) ... if it is not tackled with wisdom, leaving it to the leaders and elders from the Misariyah and Dinka Ngok who are capable of agreeing on a solution," Nimir said.

He said the reconciliatory meeting should include elders of the two tribes "who actually live in Abyei, and without sponsorship by the government or the SPLA (who) should leave the decision making to the two parties".

Abyei's fate was one of the main stumbling blocks in years of tortuous negotiations between the government and the SPLA that culminated in the peace deal.

Under an agreement reached in May 2004, a formula was established for sharing out oil revenues from the district and providing for a referendum in 2011 on whether the district should join the north or the south.

Abyei was heavily depopulated during Sudan's civil war, Africa's longest-running conflict.

May 30 2006 Interview with Dr Douglas H Johnson, expert on the Abyei Boundary Commission - Hofre Nahas area; part of Bahr El Ghazal transferred to Darfur in 1960s

For further reports, click on Abyei label here below.

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