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SENNAR - 12 Jan 2013

Nomads in fierce dispute with Sennar State

Arab nomads nearly clashed with Sennar state officials on Thursday after a verbal altercation in an area near the border with Upper Nile.

A delegation from the state capital led by deputy governor Sharfadeen Haju together with the commissioners of Dali and al-Mazmum met leaders of nomads returning from South Sudanese territory with their herds.

Differences quickly emerged over migration routes and pastureland used by nomads returning. One source in al-Mazmum described the origin of the conflict as the Sennar government’s failure to fulfill its pledges of where to re-settle nomads returning to Sennar.

The source pointed out that the government had committed to settle the nomads in the eastern part of the province but now instead allowed them only to settle and graze their cattle in the southern part only. This set off a fierce argument between the nomads and the government delegation, with the nomads claiming rights in the eastern part of the state.

The government delegation expressed their displeasure with the nomads’ claim to the eastern part of the province while nomads claimed the government was not taking seriously its obligation to resettle them.

“The nomads refused local areas of South Dali saying that the area is barren and not suitable for grazing,” the source elaborated. Some arrangement may have been reached with local elders but continued failure to resolve the dispute could lead the situation to erupt at any time, according to the source.

Nomads returning from South Sudan to the areas of Sennar and Blue Nile face a scarcity of rangeland and have urged the Sudanese government to deal with the South Sudanese government in order to allow them to enter southern territories again.

Herders in the two northern states must compete with local farmers for water and space. Water prices in the area can reach as high as 300 pounds per water tank.