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mia farrow

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March 15, 2011

' the people of South Sudan will not leave Abyei to suffer." -a brief, over simplified explanation

In January, Abyei's people were supposed to cast their votes on the issue of independence from the north. No question about what they want- independence from the north. However beneath Abyei is a wealth of oil. There are 25 oil fields in the Abyei area.. And the oil is the problem. Khartoum's tactic is to insist that the Missereya should also be allowed to vote. The Misserya are nomadic, Arab, herdsmen, based in the north and are among several groups that are infiltrated, funded, trained and armed by Khartoum. The people of Abyei do not question the Missereya's right to unrestricted grazing access, but as they are not a part of the community and the are in the Abyei area for just 3 months a year, residents do not believe the Misserya have a legitimate right to vote there.
The population of Abyei is not large, so if the Misserya were to vote-they could attach Abyei to the north. Residents of the Abyei area are Ngok Dinkas, a southern based tribe, and they would not accept being attached to the north. So the vote is now pending.
Another issue is the border itself. The people of Abyei want to make the ruling of the Hague tribunal binding and final-even though it significantly reduced their land. Khartoum wants more land/oil for the north.
On July 9 Southern Sudan will celebrate their independence from Khartoum. HE Deng Arop Kuoi, Chief Administrator of Abyei told me," If the South separates without a solution, I don't think Abyei will remain peaceful. It will be a war zone. One thing I am sure of, the people of South Sudan will not leave Abyei to suffer."

I can't post photos until I get home.
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