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Ngok-Dinka, Misseriya fail to strike deal ending Abyei tribal tensions

Ethiopian peacekeepers in Abyei on 14 August 2016 (UNISFA photo)April 12, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Traditional leadership of the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya failed to strike a deal on peaceful coexistence but reiterated their commitment to peace and security in Abyei.

The United Nations’ Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) facilitated two meetings between the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya traditional leaders at Diffra on 16 March and 9 April to discuss ways to end intercommunal tensions and enable save corridors for their cattle to graze south to Bahr al-Arab or Kiir River basin.

"While no written agreement was reached during the 9 April meeting, both sides reiterated their commitment to peace and agreed to meet again, in a wider format, once COVID-19 restrictions were lifted," said UNISFA in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

The Misseriya pastoralists who spend most of the year around Muglad in northern South Kordofan, graze their cattle during the dry season south to Bahr al-Arab or Kiir River basin.

However, since the attacks of 19-22 January, the southward transhumance of the Misseriya cattle has been stopped, pending an agreement by leaders of both communities.

According to the UNISFA, the Misseriya nomads and their cattle suffered three fresh attacks to prevent their the southward movement towards the grazing areas.

"In one incident, on 2 April in Leu, 4 Misseriya-owned cows died in a rocket-propelled grenade attack and in another, at Hadid near Marial Achak on 9 April, reportedly 2 Misseriya herders were killed and 5 kidnapped, and over 100 cows were rustled," said the statement.

The UN peacekeeping force expressed hope that the leaders of both communities following through on their verbal commitment to peace by translating their words into appropriate action on the ground.

On Monday on 20 January, three Misseriya were killed after a clash with Dinka Ngok in Kolom, near Noong, about nine kilometres North-West of Abyei town.

In a revenge attack on 22 January, Misseriay armed men attacked Kolom on Wednesday 22 January killing 32 people and wounded 24 others, according to Dina Ngok leaders. Also, they said that the assailants abducted 15 children, and burned 22 houses.