Home | News    Saturday 12 May 2012

South Sudan seeks global support over Sudanese army withdrawal from Abyei


By Ngor Arol Garang

May 11, 2012 (JUBA) - South Sudan on Friday called on the international community to exert pressure on the government of neighbouring Sudan to immediately withdraw its troops from the contested border region of Abyei.

A UNMIS peacekeeper patrol in Abyei, Southern Sudan, Friday, March 11, 2011 (AP)

On Thursday 10 May Juba announced that it had completely withdrawn its police forces out of the contested area, as stipulated by a 2 May resolution of the UN Security Council, which called on both countries to move their forces out of the region.

South Sudan has announced that it is willing to comply with all aspects of resolution 2046, which calls on both sides to resume negotiations on post-partition issues and signed deal with three months.

The UNSC resolution endorsed the proposals of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC), which also called on the Khartoum government and rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile to negotiate and end to their conflict, based on the agreement Sudan’s president Omar Hassan al-Bashir discarded last year.

Bashir has expressed unwillingness to comply fully with the demands of the UN and AU. "We only do the things we want to do. And no security council or the whole world for the matter can force us to act otherwise,” Bashir said Thursday.

Since Abyei was captured by the Sudan Armed Forces in May 2011, the UNSC has repeatedly called for both nations to withdraw from the dispute region, the status of which was due to have been decided in a referendum in January 2011. The vote did not go ahead due to disagreement over who could take part.

As part of a deal in June 2011 Ethiopian peacekeepers were deployed the region under a Chapter VII UN mandate. However, other aspects of the agreement have not been fully implemented, most notably the demilitarisation of the area and the establishment of a civilian administration.

On Friday, the South Sudanese Co-Chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee, Luka Biong Deng, who witnessed the withdrawal of Southern forces the day before called on the "international community to demand the withdrawal of Sudan’s forces from the area and all other armed elements they support, and if necessary, secure such compliance through the Chapter VII measures provided for in the UN Security Council resolution.”

Biong is a member of the Dinka Ngok tribe, which South Sudan maintains is Abyei’s only resident native group, and considers as the only legitimate ethnic group to participate in the postponed referendum on the future status of Abyei.

Khartoum, however, insists that the nomadic Misseriya tribe, which enters Abyei to find grazing for its cattle for much of the year, should also be given voting rights. Juba, on the other side, rejects their eligibility saying this would lead to maintain Abyei in Sudan and prevent the oil producing area from joining newly independent state.

According to Biong, the withdrawal of Southern police forces from Abyei was witnessed by General Tadesse Werede Tesfay, the Force Commander for the United Nations Interim Security Forces for Abyei (UNISFA); General Acuil Tito Madut, the Inspector General of South Sudan Police; General Kuol Monyluak, the Acting Chief Administrator of the Area and himself as the chief representative on behalf of South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit. Community leaders also witnessed the event.

The senior official of the country’s governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) said that the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, which called for the withdrawal in roadmap for peace between the two nations on 24 April 2012, should step up calls upon the member states to persuade Khartoum to reciprocate and withdraw from the region.

In April, the two nations fought a bitter border conflict over the adjacent oil-producing region Heglig, just to the east of Abyei. The area is claimed by both sides but South Sudan’s army (SPLA) occupied the are for 10 days in response to land and ground attacks from SAF.

The SPLA withdrew - voluntarily according to Juba - following widespread international condemnation, most notably UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon describing the move as "illegal". Khartoum says that it forced the SPLA to retreat.

Officials in Juba have expressed anger that their brief occupation of Heglig drew such robust rebuke, while Sudan’s occupation of Abyei and other incidents of "aggression" have not been so harshly criticised.

Biong called for the formation of an Abyei police service, as per the peace deal which the two sides signed in June 2011 in the Ethiopia capital of Addis Ababa, and said it was time the committee to take up its duties.

"It is even more necessary that [the] Abyei Joint Oversight Committee uphold its duties and obligations to immediately form an Abyei Police Service as per the June 2011 Agreement on the Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area”, he said.

He repeated South Sudan’s position that it is willing to comply with all stipulations of United Nations Security Council resolutions, including withdrawing from all contested areas and establishing and activating Border Verification Monitoring Mechanism.

Having suffered diplomatically as a result of the Heglig occupation, Biong described the world’s youngest country a responsible member of the UN and AU, adding that Juba respected calls for a ceasefire and the immediate resumption of talks on the outstanding issues between the two sides.

"The withdrawal of our police from Abyei is a note to the African Union and United Nations supporting commitment of our government that it shall adhere to the ceasefire called upon by both international organizations. The Republic of South Sudan has demonstrated that it is a law abiding and responsible member of the international community, eager to find peaceful solutions to any challenges it is facing with its neighbors," Biong explained.

“It is hope[d] that the Government of Sudan will soon reciprocate with its own withdrawals, ceasefire announcement, and further demonstrations of peace,” he said, remarking that he could not see any sign of this yet.

He described decision to pull out police service from Abyei as "brave" and the right step to address the dispute and sends a clear message that South Sudan is ready and committed to peaceful dialogue over contentious issues with Sudan.

However, he noted that it was the responsibility of the international community "to protect those souls that live within the Abyei Area from attack."

"We hope this now paves the way for all SAF forces to withdraw, a prompt, voluntary, and dignified return of the Ngok Dinka people to their homelands, a final resolution of the status of Abyei.", he explained.


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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 12 May 2012 06:46, by Chol

    Sudan armed forces should withdraw from Abyei as well as Panthou and all the resources in both territories should remain intact and if that norm is violated then there is no point of SPLA holding back and be the only one obeying the UN!

    repondre message

    • 12 May 2012 06:56, by Mou

      South Sudan should call for the stoppage of oil production in Tor Aliny/Heglig until negotiations are have been exhausted.Albashir is stealing oil in huge amount and he also locate some more oil wells within South Sudan territory. If South Sudan remain silent, then all oil will go to Khartoum and store it there even if we claim and succeed later, there will be empty wells for us.

      Believe it or no

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      • 12 May 2012 08:46, by Mahmoud mohamed Abdalla

        You better go and read and read about oil & gas conflits (North sea, Sheiba,N america,Remaila,....
        Iam not pro government of Sudan. but if I were them. I will drill many oil wells in the small Sudanese part in Bloc 7 & 3 which is strongly supported by UN. Sudan can go for horizontal drillig.

        repondre message

      • 12 May 2012 08:57, by Mahmoud mohamed Abdalla

        Bear in mind that Sudan is richer in oil than South Sudan.
        pls ask the USA oil companies about any word which here:
        North Darfur is very rich in oil
        South Darfur is very rich in oil
        North Sudan is very rich in oil (near Libya)
        Eastern Sudan is very very rich in gas try some reports from Saudi Arabia.
        North Kordofan is very rich in gas
        Central Sudan is very rich in oil but swampy.

        repondre message

    • 12 May 2012 08:18, by Mahmoud mohamed Abdalla

      Abyei is the beloved home land for Messeria who have roots in Tunissia, Ismailya-Egypt,Darfur,Tchad and Libya. The population of Messeria is around 5 millions.
      Messeria in Abyei with their Dinka brothers but the fanatics injected the poison there to separate them.

      repondre message

    • 12 May 2012 08:20, by Mahmoud mohamed Abdalla

      Mr. Ban Ki Moon is an elected IC member by the UN, IC and the 5 permanet of the security council of UN. Your SPLA started the war in the Sudan and held many detainees (not POW based on UN rules).SPLA is responsible for the torture of the innocent Sudanese defenders of their land.

      repondre message

    • 13 May 2012 07:14, by Mahmoud mohamed Abdalla

      "South Sudan seeks global support over Sudanese army withdrawal from Abyei"
      That is very funny!??!!??
      SPLA/M has great plans to destroy all the over 300 millions "FAKE ARABS". Yes SPLA/M will reimplement and control the lands of FAKE ARABS since they are well trained from GB’s actions in last century.

      repondre message

  • 12 May 2012 07:41, by AUGUSTINO DENG

    Luka Biong of Dinka Ngok of Abyei is the dumped and unsophisticated leader,which I have never seen in my life. How come for you to witness the withdraw of Southern Police from Abyei and call for International community to put pressure on the Northern Sudan government?Why don’t you put pressure on the Northern Sudan government yourself? Shame on you.

    By Augustino Deng. Jech la mer from Tharpam.

    repondre message

    • 12 May 2012 07:56, by George Bol


      You need to know that we are creating witnesses in case we attack. Biong has nothing to confince Jallaba because Khartoum saw him as a real enemy. Also, Khartoum is always dumb to fail, lie, fabrications, and stealing. They stole our oil, the bomb our towns, they capture Abyei, the dishonor accords, commit genocide to darfur, Nuba, Funj, and stop aid in two states But still UN din,t he

      repondre message

  • 12 May 2012 07:48, by George Bol

    Anti aircraft needed for SPLA to hand over Bashier to ICC for the crime against the civilians in Darfur, Blue Nile, and Nuba mountains, and South Sudan. SPLA can put down criminal regime for good.

    repondre message

  • 12 May 2012 08:13, by dinkdong

    This is what they would have claim last time rather than making the move of capturing Heglig and lost hundreds of lives

    repondre message

  • 12 May 2012 08:20, by codewizards

    You can withdraw even the SPLA forces in any border area, but SAF will never withdraw, and even if they don’t withdrew their forces in Abyei, the so called International Community will do nothing to SAF! Respecting International Community is comm. suicide. They can talk but do nothing. Bashir understands them well, therefore he will never respect them. Instead, Bashir will send more SAF to Abyei.

    repondre message

  • 12 May 2012 08:41, by viper

    Those of Luka Biong and Deng Alor thinks that withdrawal is a choice taken by brave pple which is not true. Withdrawal is for cowards like them, those who have forsaked their hometown claiming that they cannot fight couz they are educated. Who do they think will liberate their hometown?

    repondre message

    • 12 May 2012 08:50, by viper

      People of Abyei should talk to their sons to take up arms or else they stay IDPS for ever. Those of Deng Alor hopes that the international community will liberate Abyei for them which will not happen till the coming of Jesue. A homeland cannot be abandoned by wise pple and go to enjoy luxurious hotels in foreign countries. Let Abyei sons take up arms so that we follow them.

      repondre message

      • 12 May 2012 09:06, by Mahmoud mohamed Abdalla

        You need to be with them.
        Iam very that you mentioned JESUS.
        I know that you worship your white masters the new colonizationists.
        The peoples of Abyei are mixture of Messeria and Dinka. BUT SATANS like you were/are same as those who tried to kill the great JESUS.

        repondre message

        • 12 May 2012 09:50, by viper

          Mohamud, you know, it will be a waste of my time to keep responding to your useless comments on this website because you lack a vision and understanding as well as the understanding of this simple English language. What you are suppose to do is to go and make the creaming of koran. What we use to discuss here are beyond your understanding

          repondre message

          • 13 May 2012 07:40, by Mahmoud mohamed Abdalla

            Allah instructed not to SATANS LIKE YOU.
            I made big mistake by using peaceful methods to CHANGE you the CHANGEABLE.....
            I will concentrate will cattle than wasting time with you.
            I speak Arabic, English , French, Romanian and Italian.

            Asculta:"Pentru mine esti un nebun si bulnav!!"

            repondre message

          • 13 May 2012 07:51, by Mahmoud mohamed Abdalla

            Alhumdu Lil Allah instructed me not to waste time with SATANS LIKE YOU.
            I made big mistake by using peaceful methods to CHANGE you the UNCHANGEABLE.....
            I will concentrate will cattle than wasting time with you.
            I do speak Arabic, English , French, Romanian and Italian.
            Asculta:"Pentru mine esti un nebun si bulnav!!"
            I am ready to change to any one of the mentioned languages

            repondre message

  • 12 May 2012 09:05, by Dmangau

    It is always of my great pleasure for being born as southerner not northerner Arabian. Sorry to generalize the north people and Arabi for there might be very few people among them that know the trues!! My argument is, if they are not stupid then why do they allowing a person which is why is his time to confuse them by driving people to war. War is not bad if you know that you are fighting for trus

    repondre message

  • 12 May 2012 09:08, by philipdit wol

    Who are you asking for withdrawal since Bashir was stated clearlly yesterday that he would not be agreed with eith AU nor UNSC opposed unless he is willing to excepted.

    repondre message

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