Articles and Analysies
Abyei Issue and the Way Forward By Akol Meyan Kuol
By [unknown placeholder $article.art_field1$]
Sep 19, 2006 - 11:26:00 PM

Abyei Issue and the Way Forward

By Akol Meyan Kuol

In the previous article I talked about the historical
backround about the Abyei Area, the homeland, of the
nine Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms and the long struggle and
determination of the Ngok Dinka people of Abyei to
liberate their beloved homeland and the expensive
sacrifices and commitment they made to return Abyei to
its rightful and traditional place, south Sudan. In
return to the efforts and sacrifices they made they
managed to achieve a right for the Ngok people to vote
after six-year-Interim Period in the Abyei Referendum
whereby they will have two choices; Abyei retains its
special status in the north, or Abyei goes back to
south Sudan. Now Ngok have two legal documents, Abyei
Protocol and Abyei Boundaries Commission Report, and
with these two legal documents they can get a support
from well-wishers who respect human rights and the
rule of law. Also, Ngok people can argue their case
anywhere in the world with a full confidence, even at
the International Court of Justice at the Hague.
In this article Iíll focus on the current situation in
Abyei and the way forward.
The issue of language is another problem in Abyei
Area, because now there are young Ngok graduates who
came back from the north. They are in Agok jobless.
They are not being employed by NGOs because they donít
speak English. The lack of knowledge of English
language has frustrated them. So some of them go back
to the north for chances of employment.
There is a substantial implementation of Abyei
Protocol; there are International Monitors and Joint
Integrated Unit (SAF and SPLA).  Unfortunately,
Brigade 31 of old SAF which was controlling Abyei Area
during the years of war is still there, plus
pro-government militias; namely, SSUM led by
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Tiel, the second militia is
called Shahama and they are Missiriya men. All these
forces are inside Abyei Town, except Shahama militia
that is residing in the forest north of Abyei. Shahama
men are said to be continuing military training in
those forests so that they confront the Abyei
Administration that will be only composed of the sons
and daughters of the nine Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms since
the Abyei Area is defined as the homeland of the nine
Ngok Dinka chiefdoms transferred to Kordofan in 1905.
Joint Integrated Unit (SPLA and SAF) does not stay
together; each force stays separately. And there is no
good relation between the two.
According to Ngok civilians, Shahama is still killing
them; the bodies of Ngok civilians who have been
murdered in the forests are always found. You find
heads have been cut off. SSUM militia is reported by
the Ngok civilians to be ambushing Ngok people who are
coming back from the north. They are reported to have
killed Ngok people who were coming back early this
year from the north.
According to Ngok, these incidents of killings are always reported to the
International Monitors but they donít make any action.
Ngok people have a low opinion of these African
Monitors who are from Zambia. African Monitors are not
allowed by SAF to patrol north of Abyei. They are only
allowed to go to south of Abyei that is under the
control of the SPLM/A. According to Ngok civilians,
Monitors are not allowed to go to northern Abyei
because of the oil fields where they have resettled
the Arab families under the cover of being employees
of the oil companies that are drilling oil.  Besides,
according to the information they have, SAF forces
that are being withdrawn from southern Sudan are being
redeployed in all the oil fields, including northern
areas of Abyei where the oil fields are. Some Ngok civilians say that International
Monitorsí presence in Abyei is a positive thing,
however, many prefer the coming in of the UN Peace
Keeping Force. Ngok people are praising the current
commander of SPLA Joint Integrated Unit Colonel
Togmaj. They say they feel secure now with his
presence, because he is working hard to make sure no
more harassment and killing to Ngok people, unlike his
predecessor Athian.
SPLM office has been opened in Abyei Town headed by
Colonel Musa Malei Kat. Ngok civil population is
appreciating efforts being done by the SPLM at the
local and national levels as regard to Abyei issue.
They describe SPLM members as wise in the way they are
tackling Abyei problem with the National Congress
Party that they accuse of not being serious in
implementing Abyei Protocol and not recognizing Abyei
Boundaries Commissionís report.
They think and believe that the NCP is provoking the SPLA
to start the war for not implementing Abyei Protocol.
However, they donít want to be the cause of war
between the south and north and that is why they
prefer diplomatic means for settling Abyei issue. They
also wonder why the IGAD, observer countries of
Norway, Italy, the UK and the US, plus the rest of the
international community are silent and not putting
pressures on the National Congress Party to implement
what was all agreed upon on Abyei, and they were
witnesses, as 20 months passed now since the CPA was
concluded in Nairobi, Kenya.
Ngok have a low opinion about some of the NGOs that
are operating in Abyei. They say their services arenít
up to what was expected of them to be doing, and they
blame the lack of provision of services to the absence
of Abyei Administration to direct them on what to do. However, they are appreciating GOAL; they say it is rendering health services.
They accuse the National Congress Party to have
employed some Arabs in the UN organizations but
actually, are its security agents and that is why,
according to them, they are not providing feasible
Commodities are available in the Abyei market but it is the
Arab traders who are still controlling the market. And
according to Ngok civil population, all the Arabs
traders in Abyei are armed; they have guns in their
shops and houses. Therefore, they feel insecure as
they donít have guns and SPLA Joint Integrated Unit is
inside Abyei with them and they doní have enough
weapons and ammunition, plus mother SPLA is in south
of Abyei instead of being in northern Abyei where they
expect danger to come from.  A road has been
constructed from Abyei to Agok and they believe it
will continue up to Ajak, however, Ngok people believe
that the construction of that road started before the
signing of CPA and was put off by the SPLA; because
its purpose according to them was to make the movement
of SAF easier in case of any clashes with the SPLA,
especially, when it is moving with heavy weapons. The
other thing, they say, NCP is making this road just to
explore new oil fields.
Now, there will be general census all over Sudan,
including Abyei by the end of second year of the
Interim Period, general election in Sudan including
Abyei by the end of 3rd year of the Interim Period and
there will be Abyei Referendum in 2011 and Abyei
Administration has not been established yet, and Ngok
Dinka have not come back to their homeland, Abyei, to
prepare themselves for those challenges that are
awaiting them. So, what will be their plight?
Therefore, based on these realities, in respect to
CPA, there is need for the National Congress Party and
SPLM to speed up their efforts and implement the Abyei
Protocol as Ngok Dinka people are running out of time
and patience. The Government of South Sudan needs to keep
on putting pressures on NCP to implement the Abyei
Protocol. Ngok people in and outside Sudan should keep
on lobbying so that they rally the international
community behind them. Ngok should be staging peaceful demonstrations inside Sudan after prayers every Sunday and Ngok Muslims should do the same thing after every Friday prayers. Ngok Dinka of Abyei should pull
their talents, wisdom and intellectual capabilities to
liberate their beloved homeland, Abyei, through
peaceful means and diplomacy. Ngok should pull all
their resources wherever they may be and seize this
opportunity to settle the Abyei problem once and for
all, as the Interim Period is the last phase of the
struggle for the liberation of the Ngok homeland, Abyei. Ngok sons and daughters should use their influence at the levels of the  States, Government of Southern Sudan and the Government of National Unity to push the Abyei Issue forward and consequently leads to the formation of the Abyei Administration. Perhaps, since the Ngok Dinka and SPLM
have waited for so long for a Presidential Decree from
the Presidency concerning the formation of the Abyei
Administration, it would be logical if the office of
the First Vice-President of the Republic of the Sudan
could make a unilateral decision concerning the formation of
the Abyei Administration as long as the NCP and SPLM are
partners. In conclusion, Ngok people should not loose hope, because there is a solution for every human being's problem. The sun will be rising!

Akol is the author of the two collections of poems entitled, 'The Sun Will be Rising' and 'The Last Train'. You can view them on this website:

© Copyright by