Home | News    Tuesday 21 February 2012

North-South border peace conference in Aweil calls for assistance


February 20, 2012 (JUBA) - A three day peace conference, bringing together communities from either side of the tense border between north Sudan and newly independent South Sudan, has called for international assistance to complement efforts aiming at mitigating border conflicts.

The meeting was held in South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal State home to the Dinka Malual community with representatives from Sudan’s nomadic Missiriya ethnic group who traditionally pass into South Sudan to find pasture for their cattle in the coming months.

In July last year South Sudan became independent as part of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of conflict. Since South Sudan’s secession the poorly demarcated and contested border has been a source of tension between Juba and Khartoum as well as local communities.

The three day conference in Aweil looked at traditional mechanisms and modalities on seasonal routes and migration of Baggara (Arab) nomads from neighboring Sudan into Northern Bahr el Ghazal from Southern Kordofan State.

Convened at the request of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state governor, Paul Malong Awan, the dialogue drew participation from county commissioners as well as members of South Sudan’s National and State Legislative Assembly. Other participants included representatives from the United Nations and non-governmental organisations.

In his opening remarks, obtained by Sudan Tribune on Monday, Governor Awan pledged to release four members of the Missiriya tribe allegedly arrested on criminal charges in the state and called on the two sides to “honestly and freely” discuss issues of their concern in order to reach a meaningful dialogue.

“I would like to inform all of you that my government will continue to support peace between Dinka Malual and their neighbours," Awan said.

Speaking at the same conference, Hilde F. Johnson, Special representative of the Secretary General of the United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), encouraged both sides to talk in a spirit of peace.

“Making peace implies looking for a win-win solution to bring peace,” Johnson advised.

Lino Adup Achier, chairperson of the state’s peace commission, told Sudan Tribune on Monday from Aweil town that his administration hopes to use the conference as a forum to establish positive social and friendly contacts in order to chart way forward between the two sides.

Achier explained that the conference aims to peacefully share and manage natural resources, as well as looking at traditional ways of addressing issues of concern involving the two sides amicably. He appealed for assistance from development partners and international organisations to complement government efforts aiming to providing basic services to the border ares, which were among the worst affected by the civil war.

“These areas were severely affected by the war. They need water, health and other basic services in order to rebuild their lives and to live peacefully with their neighbours”, he said.

Achier said the deliberations between the two communities had been positive and border monitoring committees would be formed through traditional leaders.

Traditional mechanisms to address issues of concern are be preferable to getting involved in the brinkmanship and bitter diplomatic relations between Khartoum and Juba, he said.

“The conference will also help send a message to all nomadic groups and the government of Sudan that migration corridors in Northern Bahr el Ghazal will remain open to nomadic tribes”, he said.

The official said a similar conference between the Dinka Malual and the Rezeigat tribe from South Darfur State has also been held to discuss issues related to the migration of cattle into South Sudan.

South Sudan’s Unity state has that if the Misseriya leave their weapons at the border and do not commit crimes while in South Sudan they were welcome to migrate in and out with their cattle.

If the two sides agree and respect the terms of the Northern Bahr el Ghazal conference, it will provide a working example of a soft border, thus supporting the AU Border Agreement offered to the two parties at post-secession negotiations in Addis Ababa.

Meetings by the Dinka Malual and the Misseriya groups held in the past have led to formulation of position papers on issues related to the migration, including seasonal grazing access, migration routes, regulations, trade and security.

Around 275 representatives from both the Dinka and Misseriya, including local government and traditional authority leaders as well as peace committee members, traders, and civil society groups, attended the conference to offer their input on key issues related to migration and to formalise the agreement. Miram Peace Committee chairman Adam Abdurahman Dogshum facilitated travel out of Miram of the 140 Fayareen participants, a sub-tribe of the Misseriya Humr.

With the independence of South Sudan only seven months ago, the new border between Sudan and South Sudan remains a focus of uncertainty and anxiety.

The UN has reported that North Sudan’s military has bombed areas of South Sudan since the countries separation, although Khartoum denies this.

South Sudan is home to thousands of Sudanese from South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where conflict between rebels and the government started last year over failure to implement the peace deal, controversial elections and the SPLM-N’s refusal to disarm.

North and South Sudan have also not resolved the future of Abyei, a territory claimed by both sides.

The conference was supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in an effort to reduce tensions as the dry season approaches precipitating the migration of northern nomads and their cattle into South Sudan. The dry season has been underway since December and the cattle are at the edge of the River Kiir waiting to cross into the Dinka grazing lands.

Over the past few years, USAID’s Office of Transition and Conflict Mitigation has provided more than $1.2 million in support to Northern Bahr el Ghazal to improve local conflict mitigation and reduce the risk of conflict; building the capacity of county governments, supporting local peace and encouraging cross-border dialogue, trade and interaction.

The Dinka Malual and the Misseriya ethnic groups - like many others along the North-South Sudanese border are inextricably joined together by mutual interests and historical ties such as trade, grazing corridors, migrant workers and shared family members.

At the conference, which ends on Tuesday all sides called for peace, reconciliation, and co-existence without letting the past taint the future.

The three day conference in Aweil followed a two day USAID sponsored workshop in Miram in South Kordofan where the Misseriya of the Western grazing corridor were gathered to prepare themselves and form common positions on key issues before travelling to the Aweil conference.


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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 21 February 2012 06:27, by Kurnyel

    That peace worth nothing atless all NCP are remove.

    repondre message

    • 22 February 2012 09:33, by Aweil Town

      It is good to make peace with anybody who wish to have peace but why do miseriya every year looking for peace if it is matter of pasture to their animals then this is different country call South Sudan, their cattle should rotaes on their teritory and if it,s border issue then it,s not disscuss at state level. Our Governor is good because he has releif West west commissioner.

      repondre message

  • 21 February 2012 06:40, by George Bol

    North Sudan always propose the win-lose conflict resolution but the South Sudan do propose the win-win resolution. Now, the Dinka Malual agrred to welcome the Arab Nomad while the Arab in Kosti, Odurman, Khartoum etc are blocking the Southeners to come South. And the same thing to Dinka Ngok in Abyei! these Arabs must know that Dinka are peaceful people that is why we provide food to pro-Arab/mili

    repondre message

    • 21 February 2012 07:40, by Dinka Dominated SPLA/M

      There is a big suspicious going on in our well located intelligency agences that Riek Machar puot nyuon[teny dhurgon is a name of his grandfather witchcraft] is hind insecurety in the south to sabotage the leadership of long serving SPLA/M second strongman who never rebelled against SPLA/M, LT G
      If this proved reall? than the arrest warranty will be issue soon,
      thank you all God bless RSS peop

      repondre message

      • 21 February 2012 08:29, by Mike Mike

        NBEGs Gvt should not waste time and little resources they have for making no beneficial peace with poor and lawless cattle herders of the N.Sudan.What will the State authority is going to benefit in the peace they were been engaging at since the beginning of this year?.There is tough debate between the two gvts in Addis-abab and other state is engage behind want to give arab chance to use our land

        repondre message

      • 21 February 2012 19:33, by morogot batal

        isit DR RIAK MACHAR who is making an agreement with arabs
        or dinkas and at the time that the same meseria is the main obstacle to south sudan today.

        repondre message

    • 21 February 2012 08:38, by Mike Mike

      I will not blame anyone around, but my blame goes to Mr. President because he should not give more powers to governors in their respective states. Whatever they plan to do should be submtted first to president for approval and cann’t be informed after some thing has happen coz administrative system is clear and we cann’t neglect it.

      repondre message

  • 21 February 2012 16:21, by viper

    This is a good example from Dinka Malual to the pple of Jongolei, warrap, Unity state and Lakes that being in peace can make you think big. Malual pple were said to be non educated, but now they have proved to Jongolei,lakes, warrap that they are more wise than you all

    repondre message

    • 21 February 2012 16:32, by viper

      My thanks here goes only to the pple of the greater Equatoria and that only wise Dinkas of Malual who are peaceful like Equatorians. Why are you fighting yourselves in Jongolei, Warrap, Lakes state and Unity state like dogs? Try to behave like Dinka Malual and Equatorians please

      repondre message

  • 14 May 2013 16:21, by dennishobson

    ILoC40ugiEfeuAzx5QI02M2YLXkje0ssanyong actyon madeira plastica plastic lumber This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa). You

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