SUDAN WATCH: Nomads Abyei Sudan Security Situation - Misseriya and Rizeigat tribes fighting in Kass region NW of Nyala, S. Darfur

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nomads Abyei Sudan Security Situation - Misseriya and Rizeigat tribes fighting in Kass region NW of Nyala, S. Darfur

YESTERDAY [Monday, 23 August 2010], after nearly five days, fighting between the Misseriya and Rizeigat tribes reportedly continued in the Kass region, located approximately 90 kilometers northwest of Nyala, South Darfur. Mediation efforts were attempted by the Deputy Wali (Governor) of South Darfur over the weekend. A UNAMID verification mission is underway to provide an assessment on the situation, including the number of casualties.

Gunshots were heard last night [Monday, 23 August 2010] in one sector of the Kalma internally displaced person (IDP) camp, located on the outskirts of Nyala, South Darfur. A UNAMID patrol immediately proceeded in the direction of the shooting. At the site, four RPGs were found, as well as more than 100 spent cartridges.

A UNAMID verification patrol is scheduled today [Tuesday, 24 August 2010] in the Kass region, located approximately 90 kilometers northwest of Nyala, South Darfur. The exact number of casualties following inter-tribal fighting remains unknown, as only the Misseriya tribe has declared their figures, while Rizeigat casualty figures remain unconfirmed.

A committee has been established at the state level to resolve the renewed conflict between Misseriya and Rizeigat tribes which began on Monday 16 August 2010. The body has since met with the leaders of the two groups and presented them with recommendations to cease the fighting.

UNAMID continues to conduct day and night confidence building patrols within the Kalma IDP camp. Access continues to be granted to humanitarian NGOs for entry into Kalma by the Humanitarian Aid Commission. No new population movements within and out of the camp have been reported. Submersible pumps in the most populated parts of Kalma continue to function.

UNAMID military forces conducted 78 patrols including routine, short-range, long-range, night and humanitarian escort patrols covering 63 villages and IDP camps. UNAMID police advisors conducted 116 patrols in villages and IDP camps.

West Darfur
Yesterday [Monday, 23 August 2010] UNAMID Joint Special Representative, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, concluded a two-day visit to El Geneina and Zalingei, West Darfur where he met with Mission personnel, UN Agencies and the humanitarian community. He was briefed on the security and humanitarian situation in the respective area.

The visit included meetings with local government officials and security committee members, during which he reiterated his call to the government to apprehend those committing criminal acts against UNAMID peacekeepers. Government officials reassured the Mission and international aid workers of their commitment to safety and security. The JSR further stressed the need for UNAMID to adopt more robust patrols in and around the IDP camps.

Professor Gambari also visited Mournei (IDP) camp located about 48 kilometers south of El Geneina.

UNAMID’s new Police Commissioner takes up duties
Mr. James Oppong Boanuh of Ghana arrived at the Mission’s headquarters in El Fasher, North Darfur, this week to take up his duties as UNAMID’s Police Commissioner. He succeeds Mr. Micheal Fryer of South Africa who left in April after serving since the Mission’s inception in January 2008.

Ghana is currently the largest police contributing country to UNAMID with a total of 500 police officers.

Senegal adds to Formed Police Units
Yesterday [Monday, 23 August 2010] UNAMID received its second Senegalese Formed Police Unit (FPUs). The units, consisting of 140 personnel, will be deployed in El Geneina, West Darfur. The new arrivals, brings the total number of FPU officers in the Mission to 1,959.

SOURCES:
Daily Media Brief - Monday 23 August 2010 from UNAMID (United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur) EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan/via APO.

Daily Media Brief - Tuesday 24 August 2010 from UNAMID (United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur) EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan/via APO.
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"FINE WORDS BUTTER NO PARSNIPS"

Click here for:
Briefing to the UN Security Council on the Humanitarian Situation in Darfur
Statement by John Holmes
Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator
Monday 23 August 2010
Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
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MISSERIYA COUNT LOSSES AT 88 DEAD, 32 INJURED

Misseriya count losses at 88 dead, 32 injured in clashes near Kass, Darfur
Report from Radio Dabanga - Monday 23 August 2010:



(KASS) - A leader of the Misseriya tribe said the clashes around Kass have resulted in 88 dead and 32 injured from the Misseriya while he did not know the exact number of killed and wounded on the side of the Rizeigat. Violence between the two Arab tribes broke out last week after nearly two months of relative calm following a reconciliation deal signed in late June.

The Misseriya tribal leader, Izz-Al-Din Issa Mandil, appealed over Radio Dabanga for the belligerent parties to stop hostilities and convene a peace conference. He also called on the state government to do its duty to stop the violence.

Nuwayba clashes with Misseriya spread from Kass into West Darfur
Report from Radio Dabanga - Friday 20 August 2010:



(WADI SALIH) - The tribal clashes between the Nuwayba Rizeigat and the Misseriya spread from South Darfur to West Darfur. According to reports from the areas of Tanaku and Duraysa in Wadi Salih, there were dozens of dead and wounded in fresh clashes.

Sources in West Darfur said that a joint force of army and police were directed to go to the areas of events. Meanwhile, clashes continued between the parties in Kass Locality for a fourth day in a row along the Wadi Milla and west of Jabal Awda. Witnesses said that there were a number of new dead and wounded in the clashes on Thursday. The Governor of South of Darfur, Hamid Musa Kasha, reportedly arrived in the areas of events to calm the situation and control the response.

Before these latest reports, sources had already put the number of dead at about 50. The fighting between the two tribes follows nearly two months of relative peace after a reconciliation deal in late June.

50 dead in Misseriya-Nuwayba clashes near Kass, S. Darfur
Report from Radio Dabanga - Thursday 19 August 2010:

(KASS) - The number of people killed in continuing clashes between the Misseriya and the Nuwayba section of the Rizeigat tribe in Kass Locality rose yesterday to an estimate of 50. Sources in the area told Radio Dabanga that fighters have been using Land Cruiser to clash in the villages of the Maleh valley. One local official said that people are busy with 70 dead and wounded.
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NOMADS NOT GUARANTEED VOTING RIGHTS?

Arab nomads settling in contested Sudan region: official
Report from AFP by Guillaume Lavallee – Sunday 01 August 2010:


(KHARTOUM) - Members of an Arab nomadic tribe are settling in a contested region straddling north and south Sudan, hoping to vote in referendum next year that will define its status, a Sudanese official said on Sunday.

Members of the Misseriya tribe, who are accused by southerners of being close to the Khartoum government, are said to be moving into parts of Abyei, the chief administrator of the region Deng Arop Kuol told reporters in the Sudanese capital.

"The issue that is concerning the people of Abyei and troubling them very much is the issue of settlement that is taking place within the boundaries of Abyei," Kuol said.

"It is the Misseriya who are settling in those areas. The target is to settle in 20 locations in the area north of Abyei and they already started to settle in those areas now," he said.

"We are getting information that they intend to settle 25,000 families in those areas and the number of people will go up to 75,000 in those areas. We believe it is something organised," Kuol added.

As south Sudan holds its referendum on independence in January, residents of the oil-rich Abyei region will simultaneously vote on whether they want to belong to north or south Sudan.

Abyei's referendum law gives the right of vote to members of the southern Dinka Ngok tribe and it is up to the referendum commission to decide which "other Sudanese" are considered residents of the region and can therefore vote.

The law has angered the Arab Misseriya -- a nomadic tribe that migrates each year to the Abyei region looking for pastures for their cattle -- because it does not guarantee them voting rights.

The referendum commission for Abyei has not yet been formed, because representatives of north and south Sudan have failed to agree on who will head it -- leaving the question of Misseriya eligibility still open.

"The Misseriya... are in no way meant to vote in the Abyei referendum because they are not residents. They are meant to be nomads," said Kuol.

Deadly clashes in May 2008 in Abyei had raised fears of a return to civil war between north and south Sudan. Both parties decided to take the matter of the sensitive border to arbitration in The Hague.

Last year, the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague refined the borders of Abyei, leaving the Heglig oil fileds out of the Abyei region, the heartland of the Dinka Ngok.

Both north and south authorities had accepted the ruling, which was criticised by the Misseriya.

The Hague decision was not "fair" and "definitive" and has not enabled both parties to resolve their differences, said Salah Cos, adviser to President Omar al-Bashir for security matters, in a statement over the weekend.

Sudan produces 500,000 barrels of oil per day and has reserves estimated at six billion barrels.

Most of it lies on the border between north and south.
ABYEI'S REFERENDUM LAW DOES NOT GUARANTEE VOTING RIGHTS TO ARAB MISSERIYA?

Sudan: Oil threatens South’s independence
Report from afrik-news.com by Konye Obaji Ori - Monday 02 August 2010:
Northern Sudan has been accused of settling Arab nomadic tribes in oil-rich Abeyi region where votes are required to influence whether or not the oil-rich Abyei would belong to North or South Sudan, ahead of a January 2011 referendum.

The chief administrator of the disputed oil-rich Abyei region, Deng Arop Kuol told reporters in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, that members of the Khartoum-backed Arab Misseriya tribe were moving into parts of Abyei, in order to vote in next year’s referendum that will define the status of the oil-rich region.

“The issue that is concerning the people of Abyei and troubling them very much is the issue of settlement that is taking place within the boundaries of Abyei. It is the Misseriya who are settling in those areas. The target is to settle in 20 locations in the area north of Abyei and they already started to settle in those areas now," Kuol was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

The oil-rich Abyei region overlaps between North and South Sudan. And the January referendum on independence in South Sudan would require residents of the oil-rich Abyei region to simultaneously vote on whether they want to belong to north or south Sudan.

"We are getting information that they intend to settle 25,000 families in those areas and the number of people will go up to 75,000 in those areas. We believe it is something organized," Kuol said.

According to reports, Abyei’s referendum law, however, does not guarantee voting rights to the Arab Misseriya — a nomadic tribe that migrates each year to the Abyei region looking for pastures for their cattle.

Even though the settling Arab Misseriya tribe are not allowed to vote according to the referendum law, South Sudan authorities remain suspicious of their influx to Abyei, a region responsible for most of Sudan’s 500,000 barrels of oil production per day.

With an estimated six billion barrels of oil in the region, the economies of either North Sudan or an independent South Sudan would be affected by the outcome of votes in Abyei come January 2011. "The Misseriya... are in no way meant to vote in the Abyei referendum because they are not residents. They are meant to be nomads," Kuol adds.

Last year, the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague refined the borders of Abyei, leaving the Heglig oil fileds out of the Abyei region, and both the North and South authorities had accepted the ruling.

Deadly clashes in May 2008 in Abyei had raised fears of a return to civil war between North and South Sudan. And while both authorities decided to take the matter of the sensitive border to arbitration in The Hague, a forthcoming referendum for secession is threatening the fragile peace that has existed over the oil-rich region.

With the issue of Arab Misseriya’s voting eligibility still unresolved, and the referendum commission for Abyei not yet established, because Sudan’s Northern and Southern authorities have failed to agree on who should head it, questions of a peaceful and smooth separation of Sudan remains unanswered.
NCP SAYS MISSERIYA NOMADS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO VOTE, SPLM SAYS NO?

Unrest feared as Sudan talks stall
Report from Al Jazeera - Upated on Monday, 02 August 2010 22:43:
The ruling party in Sudan has sought to play down concerns about potential violence after talks between officials from the north and the south stalled over a referendum in the disputed oil-producing Abyei region.

A senior member of the National Congress Party (NCP) told Al Jazeera on Monday that there was no reason that the collapsed talks should escalate into a new conflict.

"I think the Abyei problem will be solved and I don't think there is any war to be expected," Rabie Abdul Atti said.

As South Sudan holds a referendum on a possible return to independence in January, Abyei will simultaneously vote on whether the region should belong to the north or the south.

But the NCP and Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), which governs the south, cannot agree on who will be eligible to vote.

"The issue of the Abyei referendum has come to a standstill," Deng Arop, a SPLM representative who heads Abyei's administration, told reporters on Sunday.

"This has the potential to ... cause a regional and international conflict."

More than two decades of bitter war between north and south Sudan left an estimated two million people dead. A peace deal signed in 2005 created a federal unity government that shared power between the north's ruling party and the former southern rebels.

Tribe controversy

Abyei's referendum law gives the right of vote to members of the southern Dinka Ngok tribe and it is up to the referendum commission to decide which "other Sudanese" are considered residents of the region and therefore eligible to vote.

The ruling NCP says the Misseriya, a big pro-unity nomadic tribe which grazes its cattle in the south during the dry season, should also vote.

The SPLM says the tribe as a bloc should not be allowed to vote, but that individuals with long-term residence in the region should be able to do so.

"The Misseriya ... are in no way meant to vote in the Abyei referendum because they are not residents. They are meant to be nomads," Arop said.

He said Misseriya had begun to settle 75,000 people in the north of Abyei to change the demographic of the region and influence the vote.

Arop estimated there were about 100,000 original Abyei residents excluding the Missiriya.

He called on the NCP to stop the settlements.

"If the government is not supporting this then it should take action to stop it," he said.

Abyei has been a contentious issue between the SPLM and the NCP both before and after the 2005 peace deal.

Border arbitration

Deadly clashes between the Sudanese army and the SPLM in Abyei in May 2008 raised fears of a return to war between north and south Sudan. Both parties decided to take the matter of the sensitive border to arbitration in The Hague.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration refined the borders, leaving the Heglig oil fields in the north, out of the Abyei region.

Both north and south authorities have accepted the ruling, but it was criticised by the Misseriya tribe.

Douglas Johnson. a former former member of the Abyei Boundaries Commission, told Al Jazeera that the threat of renewed violence in Abyei is "very serious".

"There have been clashes on the border, there have been clashes within Abyei, and this latest report of movement in large scale of Misseriya into northern areas of is very worrying," he said.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies
Click into above report to view video: Al Jazeera's Tarek Bazely explains the complexity of the Abyei issue.
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IN DEPTH from Al Jazeera
Q&A: Sudan's Abyei dispute



Grazing and land rights are key issues for those who live in Abyei [EPA]

Abyei tribes fear losing land



Both the African Dinka and Arab Misseriya tribes say Abyei belongs to them [EPA]
Click on Abyei label here below, and keep on scrolling, to read reports in the archives of Sudan Watch.

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