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Nomadic herders demand rights in Sudan

August 23 - 2016 SENNAR
Sheep in the Sudanese uplands (UNFAO)
Sheep in the Sudanese uplands (UNFAO)

Herders who migrate their cattle along the border with South Sudan have complained about the absence of measures that would allow their animals to graze in Sudan. After years of struggle, they have raised a memorandum to parliament.

When South Sudan became independent from Sudan in 2011, Sudanese migratory herders returned to the north with their cattle. Omar El Tayeb Aburoaf, one of the chieftains of the Rufaa tribe, and representative of the Sudanese returnees from South Sudan, told Radio Dabanga that the humanitarian situation for these returnees is dire: “There is no health and education, despite the guarantees provided by presidential decree 209.”

President Omar Al Bashir announced decree 209 after the secession of South Sudan. For the Sudanese nomads and their cattle to be able to continue their annual migration, which normally would cover the southern territory as well, the decree would make it possible to migrate the cattle into Sudan along the border. Local governments such as in Sennar and Blue Nile states would allow the herders passage and let the cattle graze in the areas.

However, this decree has not been implemented by local governments, which causes tension every year between arriving cattle herders and authorities. In the meantime, police and Abu Tira members exert pressure on the returnees. “Some opened fire on our livestock, assaulted herders, and detained them,” Aburoaf claimed.

He and other leaders raised a memorandum to the Sudanese parliament on Sunday, calling on the implementation of the decree 209. They demand the provision of services to their community in eastern Sudan's Sennar state.

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