Abyei, Misseriya communities pen accord with grey areas

Abyei, Misseriya communities pen accord with grey areas
Delegates from Dinka Ngok and Misseriya nomads pose for a group photo with UNISFA delegates at Entebbe Uganda. [Photo: Courtesy]

Abyei’s Dinka Ngok and the Misseriya nomads of Sudan signed a peace deal but with grey areas that the agreement document did not explicitly address.

The weighty issues on voters and land demarcation were some of the areas that the conference could not agree on, according to the Executive Director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO), Edmund Yakani.

Yakani told The City Review yesterday that attempt to by his office to reach out to the joint team from Abyei Administration and the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) did not bear any fruit even as he called on the two bodies to submit their reports for scrutiny. 

“I know they have not agreed on the eligibility of the voters and it is a bit disputed. There are some areas related to the administration of Abyei that might determine the status (of Abyei). There is no proper consensus for Juba and Khartoum,” Yakani explained.

He reiterated that the documents named “the outcome of the permanent arbitration” and “proposal of the Hague, EU High Implementation Panel” stated that only Dinka Ngok was eligible to vote for the final status of Abyei—a situation protested by the Misseriya.

Yakani stressed that the interest of the Misseriya was for them to have the migration rights to graze their cattle in Abyei, while the people of Abyei were concerned about the encroachment into their land.

Issues at hand

“The boundaries commission has demarcated the borders of Abyei but it shows Abyei as South Sudan land. The only challenge with the border demarcation is that it denies the Misseriya the right of ownership for grazing.

“It gives the Misseriya migration rights. They can migrate to Abyei to graze their animals. But the land they use to graze on becomes South Sudanese land, and the Misseriya does not want it to be like that,” Yakani said.

The activist urged the South Sudanese and Sudanese governments to adopt the resolution from the Kampala Peace Agreement and reach a consensus on the status of Abyei, as the engine behind the dispute due to competition for resources in Abyei.

Kampala Accord

The joint communiqué on the Joint Traditional Leaders’ Peace Conference was conducted from May 17-19, 2022 in Entebbe Uganda. It compelled the two communities agreed to ensure there is peaceful co-esistance.

“The two communities reiterated their joint commitment to achieving a lasting peace in the Abyei Area, and they confirmed that peace is essential and has been long waited,” read the communique in part.

The Abyei and Misseriya communities agreed to advocate for inter-community dialogue, leaders should be tools for peace, work towards resolving the Abyei dispute, to be meeting regularly for peace, and the investigation report of the 2013 killings should be released.

“In order to achieve peace, the resolution of certain issues identified by both communities will be essential. In this regard the two communities agreed; the traditional leaders will advocate for inter-community dialogue that promotes the protection of women and children, properties and livestock,” the statement continued.

“The issues have been recorded by UNISFA and will form the basis for further engagement with the governments of Sudan and South Sudan, in the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC), and the Joint Political and Security Mechanism. Discussions between the communities will continue between the two communities with the support of UNISFA.”

Two weeks ago, the cabinet resolved to deploy forces to secure Abyei Special Administrative Area, to mitigate further clashes.

The minister for information, communication technology and postal services, Michael Makuei Lueth, stated that the forces that the government intended to deploy would add to the United Nations Interim Security Forces for Abyei for maximal protection of the population.

Since South Sudan seceded from Sudan, Abyei has been facing challenges of insecurity as the final status is yet to be determined.