Abyei Citizens In NBGS Ready For Referendum

The registered community members of the Abyei in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State (NBGS) are ready for the referendum, an official said.

By Abraham Agoth          

AWEIL, 23 October 2013 [Gurtong] - The Abyei Referendum is to be conducted in October but no date has been set but at least its Administration, Council and Police have been agreed upon by Juba and Khartoum.

“We have started registrations of our fellow citizens in this state of NBGS and other states in South Sudan as well as in Sudan to help bring those who are voluntarily willing to come home (Abyei) for the referendum,”  the chairperson of the Abyei Referendum Organizing Committee, Marko Mawien Dombek said.

“It has not been very simple to trace these people; where they are living in smaller groups as IDPs. To make matter worse, we started this process amidst rainy season hampering the exact accessibility on timely basis but thank God, we lastly managed.”

Over 2,000 citizens of Abyei in Aweil town alone and over 1,000 have been traced and registered from the various counties of the state. 

The funds for the registration and transportation according to the chairman come from the sons and daughters of Abyei who need the referendum done as scheduled. 

“We have had a wonderful support from our brothers and sisters who are staying abroad and want our referendum done as scheduled. They support us financially with transportation cost and that’s why we have managed to make it (registration) happen,” said Dombek. 

Landcrusiesrs would be transporting 522 daily to Abyei in preparation for the referendum.The decision emerged after Friday’s general conference for the Ngok Dinka community, which was held in Abyei town.

There were reports late last week that top intellectual citizens of Abyei called for timely referendum of Abyei to be held in October but this may not be possible now.

North and South Sudan fought over two decades of civil war, which only ended with the 2005 signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Kenya.

Under its protocol on Abyei, however, the people of the contested region should have conducted their referendum at the same time as the South Sudanese, but was postponed due to disagreements between the North and South Sudanese leaders.

These differences mainly centred on the eligibility of voters. While Juba maintained that only the nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms were eligible to vote as permanent residents of the area, Khartoum insisted that the Misseriya Arabs, who are temporary residents, be allowed to take part in the referendum.

So, although the protocol specifies Abyei residents as eligible voters, it still remains unclear as who were the legal inhabitants of the contested area, which is claimed by both countries.

In 2009, however, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) redefined Abyei area as the land of the nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms.

The community, in one of its resolutions, recognised efforts of African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) to put the two Sudans on the track of peace and stability by adopting a comprehensive roadmap in April, 2012 that was endorsed by the United Nations Security Council in form of its resolution 2046 in May, 2012.



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