South Sudanese Demand Abyei Referendum Date

Hundreds of Ngok Dinka tribe in Juba today (Friday) marched to the offices of the United Nation’s Mission in South Sudan, (UNMISS) the American Embassy, European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) Liaison office to present their petition for international support on Abyei Referendum.

South Sudanese Demand Abyei Referendum Date
The UNMISS Representative Anthony Mwapa responding to the petition in Juba on Friday. [Francis Apiliga Lagu]

South Sudanese Demand Abyei Referendum Date

By Francis Apiliga Lagu and Waakhe Simon Wudu

Juba, 20 September 2013[Gurtong]-Hundreds of Ngok Dinka tribe in Juba today (Friday) marched to the offices of the United Nation’s Mission in South Sudan, (UNMISS) the American Embassy, European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) Liaison office to present their petition for international support on Abyei Referendum.

The group demanded for a definite date for the Abyei referendum as they chanted “Ban Ki Moon Don’t forget Abyei, AU don’t forget Abyei, Obama don’t forget Abyei, Hilde Johnson don’t forget Abyei,” slogans.

Marching in the streets of Juba, the demonstrators carried with them banners with messages advocating for the timely conduct of the referendum. Among some of the messages includes; “Abyei referendum must take place in October 2013, Abyei must be free, Abyei 100% South Sudanese and we are all for Abyei.”

In the petition addressed to the president Obama, Ki Moon, the EU, AU, and the president of South Sudan, the demonstrators urged the international community to put more pressure on Khartoum to accept the Abyei referendum earmarked to take place in October.

“We call upon the international community to support the timely conduct of the Abyei Referendum as proposed by the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP),” the petition partly reads.

 “We are certain the conduct of referendum shall allow prevalence of justice and put an end to the suffering of the nine Ngog Dinka chiefdoms in Abyei.”

The people also called upon the international community to act immediately because it will be an injustice to for them to just watch what is happening in Abyei.

They hailed the American Government and its people for their support that led to the Abyei protocol and urged the UN to provide the necessary security before, during and after the referendum.

The representative of the UNMISS, Anthony Mwapa, hailed the peaceful procession and promised to forward the petition to the relevant authorities in New York.

“We are glad the demonstration is conducted peacefully. I assure you that the petition will be delivered to the SRSG and the appropriate office of the UN Secretary General in New York,” said Mwapa.

The petition was signed by political parties and civil society organisations in South Sudan.

As the Ngok Dinka tribe started swift registration, a preparation for vote on the referendum in October, two questions still remain to be answered: exact date of the referendum and its legitimacy.

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