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ABYEI - 16 May 2013

Ngok protestors reject joint governance of Abyei

Youth from the Ngok Dinka community staged a peaceful demonstration yesterday in the contested oil-rich region of Abyei to protest the assassination of their paramount chief on the 5th May at the hands of Misseriya militia fighters.

The demonstrators expressed their rejection of joint governance, specifically the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) and called for the urgent formation of a committee to investigate the chief killing as well as a referendum in October.

The head of a local civil society organization, Row Manyiel Row, told Radio Tamazuj that the demonstration started at Freedom Square and travelled up to the tomb of the paramount chief, Kuol Deng Kuol, before moving onto the Ethiopian peacekeeping troops stationed at IJNISFA. Here, they presented a memo demanding that UNISFA cuts ties with the Misseriya in the area.

“We are now in a procession in protest to call off the African Union’s formation of joint administration in Abyei, which our people (have) rejected. African Union as a body presenting the African Countries including people of Abyei, they must hear our voices and should not allow the government of South Sudan to form a join administration with Sudan without the will of people of Abyei, because co-chairing the administration is the one which destructed our area in 2008 and 2011 and the same thing which led to the assassination paramount Chief Kuol,” Row stressed.

Meanwhile, Misseriya leader and paramount chief of the Al-Mezagana clan, Hamad  Ismail Hamdan, stated that the joint oversight committee should remain, but expressed reservations about Sudan’s co-chair, Al-Fahim Al-Khair.

Hamdan claimed that their reservations stem from the co-chair’s failure to create and provide opportunities for peaceful co-existence between the various groups residing in Abyei.

He added that Al-Fahim ongoing role as the co-chair the was at the request of the Dinka Ngok community, pointing out that the Ngok Dinka support a referendum but the Misseriya are not interested in conducting a referendum on Abyei’s future.