Abyei is the homeland of the nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms transferred from Bahar al Gazal Province in South Sudan to Kordafan Province in western Sudan (North Sudan) by the British in 1905.
The chiefdoms are as follows:
Abior, Achaak, Achueng, Allei, Anyel, Bongo, Diil, Man-nyuar and Mareng.
Ngok Dinka were originally based in Ngol River (Highland) which is northeast of Abyei up to the current areas of the Abyei, however, they were chased away by The Missiryyah Arab tribesmen when they invaded it with the help of the Sudan Armed Force (SAF) in December, 1964 – January, 1965.
The withdrawal of the British from Sudan without settling the Abyei issue and the joint invasion of the Missiryyah tribesmen and SAF to Ngol-Kou and Rum-Wut angerred the Ngok people and let them join the southern rebellion of Anyanya which started on 18 August, 1955 in Torit garrison in southern Sudan.
Some of the Ngok fighters who emerged were Akanon Mithiang and Cisar Ayok Deng Kuol (Makuei) to mentioned but few.
The Addis Ababa agreement which was signed between government of Sudan and Anyanya in 1972 gave Abyei people a choice either to remain in the north or go back to South Sudan as estipulated in Artical 3 (3) of the agreement, but the Nimayri regime dishonoured the provision of the referendum which supposed to take place in 1976.
Thereafter, the Ngok Dinka rebelled against Khartoum government until they later on join the new revolution in the South led by the late Dr. John Garang de Mabior under the banner of the Sudan People’s Liberation movement/Army SPLAM/A.
After 21 years of the conflcit, the two parties reached an agreement in January 2005 in Naivasha, Kenya.
Like the Addis Ababa Agreement, the Abyei Protocol was signed in Naivasha, Kenya on 26 May, 2004 granted the Ngok Dinka People of Abyei the right of voting on 9 January, 2011 simultaneously with the Southern Sudan referendum, to choose between the remaining of Abyei in the North or its return to Southern Sudan. However, this process did not take place as scheduled.
Abyei conflict went through a long process in an attempt to find a solution after the signing of the CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreeement). The two parties -SPLM and GoS formed Abyei Boundaries Commission (ABC) a body that gave its findings to the two parties in July 2005, however, while the SPLM accepted the the findings of the ABC, the National Congress Party (NCP) rejected them.
Having reached deadlock over the ruling of the ABC, the two parties again went for another arbitration in the Hague. The Permanent Court of Arbitration defined the territory of Abyei as it was transferred to Kordafan in 1905. As a result of the Arbitration ruling however, the Ngok Dinka lost a huge land which was annexed to the north. Both the ABC ruling and the arbitration of the Hague faced difficulties as the NCP leadership refused to implement them.
The recent Mbeki’s proposal of Abyei referendum which also is based on the Abyei Protocol and the Hague arbitration allow the Abyei people to vote through the referendum, while the South accepted it, the NCP rejected the proposal.
The NCP argues that the Arab nomads of Misserriyah have the right to vote in the referendum, a complete violation of the Abyei Protocol which clearly stipulate that only the Nine Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms and other Sudanese residing in Abyei area are allowed to vote. There is no mention of nomadic tribes in this process.
President Mbeki, who is an African Union Chief Mediator between two parties. proposed the referendum of Abyei should be held in October, 2013. Having failed to agree on the modalities of the referendum, the two parties have no choice but to hand over the matter to President Mbeki, who is going to report to the African Union Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council to decide on the matter.
Oil of Abyei
The discovery of oil in Abyei in 1979 gave the Abyei conflict a new dimension and complicated the issue as a contested area between Southern Sudan People and the government in Khartoum.
According to article (31) of the Abyei Protocol in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement says, without prejudice to the provisions of the wealth sharing agreement, the net oil revenue from the oil produced in Abyei area shall be shared during the interim period as follows:
- 50% to the national government
- 42% to the government of Southern Sudan
- 2% to western Kordafan
- 2% to Bahr –al-Gazal Region
- 2% to the Ngok Dinka
- 2% to the Misserriyah People
The above division of Abyei oil was not implemented as far as Abyei 2% and this percentage was not given to Abyei people by then and till now. This division of oil is not longer operational after the independent of South Sudan from Sudan in 9 July, 2011 though Abyei final status is unresolved.
Towns of Abyei
Population: est. 370,000
- Abyei: Capital
- Rum Amerr
- Mading Achwenk
- Maker Abior
- Mijak Manywaar
Payams of Abyei
- Ameth Aguok