Sudan referendum fuels tension in key border town of Abyei
Ethnic tensions rise as large numbers of displaced Ngok Dinka return to Abyei ahead of the historic Jan. 9 Sudan referendum.
(Page 2 of 2)
Abyei’s chief administrator, Deng Arop Kuol, says the Ngok Dinka will not accept any deal that gives Misseriya nomads the right to vote. He says Khartoum is stirring up the Misseriya people in an effort to destabilize the region and to keep Abyei firmly under its control.Skip to next paragraph
Latest leader to redefine term limits: Senegal's President Wade
US troops against the LRA? A war worth winning
Congo election aftermath: some possible scenarios to avert crisis
Africa Rising: Carbon credits save Sierra Leone's Gola Rainforest
Eastern Congo braces for election results
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
No single person in the flashpoint region of Abyei has registered yet for the other referendum on the future of that region.
Abyei remain[s] in limbo. Negotiations between north and south leaderships about solutions are leading nowhere so far.
The issue of who will control Abyei’s oil, Vall continues, makes the situation even more explosive.
On Sunday, the tension, anger, and rivalry in Abyei reached new heights as Misseriya Arabs announced the formation of their own local government:
“Our people on the ground announced a new government in reaction to three measures taken by the Abyei’s top administrator,” the Misseriya tribe’s emir Mukhtar Babo Nimr told AFP.
“He nominated a new commissioner without consulting anyone. Then he said he would organise his own referendum. Finally, the Dinka Ngok announced that they would not let the Misseriya return to the Bahr al-Arab” river, he added.
With two local governments and two national governments vying for control of Abyei, confusion could quickly lead to problems and further disputes.
No one wants to be Chicken Little on Sudan. It is possible that the referendum (or referenda) will come and go without major bloodshed. But many are sounding alarms over the situation in Abyei. To name one more example, “Sudan Special Adviser at the global think-tank International Crisis Group (ICG) and the African Union (AU), Fouad Hikmat, has warned that the perpetuation of the current stalemate between north and south Sudan over the future of the oil-producing area of Abyei could reignite war if not resolved.” Abyei seems to have all the ingredients – ethnic, political, economic, administrative, demographic, sociological – for conflict. As the world watches Sudan prepare for its referendum, a lot of people are watching Abyei, uneasily.
The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of Africa bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here.