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Sudan gov to appoint executive head in Abyei

September 18 - 2020 ABYEI
Residents stand next to the bodies of people killed in an attack by gunmen on Kolom village 10 kilometres north of the town of Abyei on January 22 (Social media)
Residents stand next to the bodies of people killed in an attack by gunmen on Kolom village 10 kilometres north of the town of Abyei on January 22 (Social media)

The decision of the transitional government of Sudan to appoint an executive head for the contested Abyei Area Administration has been welcomed by the Supreme Council for the Coordination of Abyei Dinka Affairs.

Chairman of the Supreme Council, Chol Moyen Paul Yak, expressed his support for Sudan’s Joint Supervisory Committee for Abyei Area in a statement yesterday.

He also said that the CEO of the Abyei Area Administration has his support to focus on development, provision of basic services, stability, peaceful coexistence, and social peace in the Abyei region.

According to the chairman, the council has been urging the formation of an executive government for the Abyei Area Administration since the Steering Committee of the Abyei Administration was dissolved after a peace agreement was signed in 2011.

Yesterday, the Democratic Movement for Abyei said that the solution to the Abyei issue lies in the implementation of the Administrative and Security Arrangements Agreement.

Following an outbreak of violence in May 2011, which displaced over 110,000 Ngok Dinka, the government of Sudan and South Sudan’s ruling political party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, signed a temporary peace agreement in June 2011.

Since the secession of South Sudan from Sudan in 2011, both countries claim the border area of Abyei. The oil-rich region is inhabited primarily by members of the South Sudanese Dinka Ngok clan. It is also the seasonal home of the Sudanese Arab Misseriya herder tribe.

The peace agreement preserved the right of the Ngok Dinka and other residents of Abyei to vote in a final status referendum, in which the residents of the region would decide either to remain part of Sudan or become part of South Sudan, was planned to be held simultaneously to the South Sudanese independence referendum in January 2011, but was postponed indefinitely because of disagreements over the process.

The agreement also called for a UN-backed interim security force of Ethiopian soldiers, the withdrawal of Sudan Armed Forces (the army of Sudan) and Sudan People’s Liberation Army (the army of South Sudan) troops, and the establishment of a new joint administration.

The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) was established by the UN Security Council in June 2011 to monitor and verify the redeployment of armed forces from Abyei.

UNISFA also has a mandate to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, to protect the area from incursions by unauthorized elements, and ensure security.

In August, five people were killed during an attack, allegedly by the South Sudanese army, on a village in Abyei.

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