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JUBA/KHARTOUM - 24 Oct 2013

Misseriya welcome summit outcome, Ngok Dinka ‘disappointed’

Members of the Misseriya tribe have welcomed the outcome of the presidential summit held in Juba on Tuesday while Ngok Dinka expressed disappointment.

The latter tribe is preparing to carry out a referendum in the disputed Abyei territory to join their homeland to South Sudan. They are rushing to hold the poll before the end of this month because they aim for an African Union resolution of last year to lend some legitimacy to the vote outcome.

AU members had voted that October 2013 should be set as a final date for holding the referendum, but their proposal was never accepted by the Republic of Sudan. Even the South Sudanese government in Juba is downplaying the legitimacy of the upcoming poll and denies any involvement in the preparations.

President Salva Kiir and President Omar al-Bashir agreed earlier this week to take steps toward forming a joint administration and legislature in the Abyei territory, but they avoided mention of a referendum to resolve the question of sovereignty over the region.

In an interview with Radio Tamazuj after the conclusion of the presidential summit, Ngok Dinka politician Luka Biong Deng reaffirmed that the tribe will stick to their decision to conduct a unilateral referendum in Abyei.

Luka, the former co-chair of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee, pointed out that voter registration for the referendum has been in progress for several days. He noted that the polling will kick off on 26 October.

When asked about the Kiir-Bashir summit, he commended the two sides for their commitment to reactivate the terms of the Cooperation Agreements while expressing reservations about the outcomes related to Abyei.  

“The Ngok Dinka community is disappointed by the outcome of the presidential summit especially with respect to the Abyei referendum,” he outlined.

He explained that the Ngok Dinka are frustrated by the outcome of the latest summit as well as the position taken by the African Union Peace and Security Council, which never followed up explicitly on their recommendation of last year.

For his part, the leader of the Mazagna clan of the Misseriya tribe welcomed the outcomes of the presidential summit between Bashir and Kiir in Juba.

Al Omda Marida Jagar Hamadain pointed to the significance of the Abyei Joint Administration as well as police to pave the way for the conduct of a jointly organized referendum in the area.

The clan leader termed what’s being done by the Dinka Ngok now in Abyei as “chaos.”