August 24, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – South Kordofan’s Misseriya tribe threatened to wage war on the Republic of South Sudan if the latter is embarked in organising a referendum in Abyei next October without their participation.
- Misseriya community people from the village of Goleh of Abyei on 14 November 2006 (Photo UN)
The move comes after the publication of a report in Al-Intibaha daily newspaper, saying Juba has unilaterally started preparations to hold a vote to determine the fate of the disputed region and granted officials and employees from the Dinka Ngok working in the different administrations open holidays from the first of next September.
Misseriya paramount chief Mukhtar Babu Nimir on Saturday criticised the silence of the Sudanese government over the alleged measures taken by Juba government to hold the referendum, adding they are prepared for all eventualities including going to war.
“Our government is silent while they know everything. We are yet waiting their reaction and if it does not move we will not accept that South Sudan organise unilaterally a referendum . We want the government to be clear with us”, he said stressing “if it fails, we will play our part in the liberation of our land in war and peace.”
The influential tribal leader further asserted their readiness to move to Abyei to prevent the conduct of the process, saying they have all the necessary weapons to confront the South Sudanese army.
During the war time, the Misseriya were organised in militias and fought alongside the Sudanese army against the former rebel SPLM.
Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in January 2005, they rejected a protocol providing to organise a referendum in the disputed area, claiming that Abyei is their land and they hosted Dika Ngok who were in war with the Nuer.
On the other hand, the two signatories of the 2005 peace agreement, which paved the way for the independence of South Sudan, failed to agree on who can take part in this crucial vote.
This situation was complicated by two contradictory propositions an African Union panel made to the parties. The first, which had been instigated by US Obama’s first special envoy Scott Gration, called to divide the area; while the second supported by the former special envoy Princeton Lyman called to hold the referendum without the Sudanese nomads.
Khartoum accepted Gration’s proposal and Juba rejected it, but the Sudanese government refused the second proposition which endorses the South Sudanese position, calling to hold the referendum in October 2013.
UN SECURITY COUNCIL
On Friday the UN Security Council expressed its “grave concern about the highly volatile situation” in the disputed area and urged the two sides to form interim local institutions they agreed in June 2011.
“The Council recalls their decision in Resolution 2046 that the parties must resume immediately negotiations to reach agreement on Abyei final status under the auspices of the AUHIP” further said the UNSC presidential statement.
The 15 member body urged to disarm local communities and to turn Abyei into a “weapons-free zone” as it was previously decided by the two parties at the level of Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC).
In line with the 20 June agreement, a joint police force has to be formed besides a joint administration and a legislative council. But they failed to reach a deal on the composition of the local parliament.
Also, the Dinka Ngok fear that the formation of these institutions without an agreement over the referendum would lead to perpetuate Khartoum’s control over the region.