As promised Omar Beshir, the master of Sudan’s complication exploded expressly on the day of the election his time bomb Abyie the oil rich northern part of Southern Sudan. At least 23 people have been killed in ongoing clashes around the disputed region, an oil-rich area that the British transferred to Sudan in 1905. The 2005 peace agreement called for people in Abyie to vote this week on whether to remain part of the north or return to the south, but that vote has been delayed. In the coming 6 months many bombs of Beshir must be a lot of Deming to be done by the international community before the South to be truly Independence- oil wealth share, boarder demarcations, Abyie , LRA infiltrations, Omar Beshir’s arming minority tribesmen in the south …
Clashes have happened for four days between members of the Ngok Dinka ethnic group, which tend to have more in common with the south, and the Misseriya, a nomadic Arabic tribe that comes in and out of the Abyie region and whose sympathies would most likely tilt toward the northern government.
The death toll was at least 23. Thirteen were Misseriya, according to hospital officials in nearby Muglad. Ten were reported dead in Abyie, said John Ajang, secretary general of the Abyie government.
“Clashes have now entered their fourth day between the Abyie government forces and armed militias,” Ajang said. “We do not believe that these are mere Misseriya tribesman; we believe that these are Sudanese government-supported militias.”
Ajang said witnesses described heavy weaponry inconsistent with the automatic weaponry seen carried by Misseriya tribesmen in the past.
“We believe this is an attempt by the Sudanese government to take Abyie while the governments of south Sudan forces are busy with the referendum,” Ajang said.
The 4th day conflict in Abyie is putting at stake the seven-day referendum is the separation of Africa’s largest state into two sovereign states. The divisions between the Muslim and Arab-dominated government in the north and the Christian and African tribal populations of the south have been festering since end of colonial rule in 1956. In 1983, those tensions erupted into a 20-year civil war that killed 2.5 million people. As North and South negotiated a peace treaty that would be signed in 2005, Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, began genocide against Muslims in Darfur, a western province of Sudan; he has since been indicted by the International Criminal Court for his crimes there.
The negotiated comprehensive peace agreement of 2005 and set Jan. 9, 2011, as the date of a Southern Sudan referendum to decide the fate of the two-state solution was supposed to include Abyie, but due to the complication created by the genocidal Omar Beshir it has been delayed and conflict just flared.
As this hopeful and historic day unfolded, and counter to most official expectations, the south resisted provocations in the early going–only to see the initial triumph tested by reports of violent clashes in Abyie.
It is a moment of unaccustomed celebration in a trash and rubble covered with red dust under a broad blue sky. But the spirit of the Southern Sudanese people is a mix of jubilation and determination, as they anticipate deliverance in the birth of the world’s newest nation. But Omar’s time bomb in Abyie the Misseriya and the LRA (Lord’s resistance Army of Uganda) already started taking victims. The later recently kidnapped two girls.
In Juba Crowds started to gather outside polling stations in at 3 a.m. on Sunday morning. Barring massive fraud, there is little doubt the south will vote overwhelmingly for secession—the betting at local bars is on whether the vote in favor will be over or under 95 percent. Omar Beshir is working to hard with his gents that the threshold 60 percent of the 3.9 million registered South Sudanese voters participated in the referendum not to pass, so the South will stay under his genocidal shadow of slavery.
Street signs and billboards imprinted with the words “Vote Wisely.” It is difficult to find any Southerner who wants to remain part of the existing Sudanese state under Sharia law. But those living under the shadow Beshir as middle man working for him reject the referendum. This is surprising, considering the 55 years of struggle and 2.5 million lives that have been lost fighting for independence.
Over estimated 40,000 refugees known locally as “Returnees” have flooded the south over the past three months to participate in the referendum and build a new life in their new nation was an additional shock to Omar Bashir.
Three months ago, Bashir made the world to believe that the voting would have to be pushed back or delayed indefinitely. International attention had shifted away from Sudan in the aftermath of the peace accords, and “Save Darfur” started to sound like a dusty bumper sticker from 2005. With decreased attention came increased tension between the north and the south. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Sudan was “a ticking time bomb,” while then-Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair declared that “a new mass killing or genocide is most likely to occur in Southern Sudan.”But renewed focus on Sudan from the Obama administration, including the appointment of Senator John Kerry as a special negotiator, helped turn the tide.
October 2009, China surprised observers by announcing that it would support the outcome of the voting, making it more difficult for the north to suppress the south without displeasing its largest investor.
On this first day of referendum voting, there were, however, two conflicts exploding the time bomb of Bashir. They occurred in the provinces of Unity State and Abyie in the 48 hours before people went to the polls in order to scare them away. Specifics are slow to travel in Sudan, and even local government officials seemed short on detailed information, but unconfirmed reports from the regions indicate that four people were murdered in Unity State and as many as 30 in Abyie.
Reports of the violence have thus far failed to dampen the hopeful tone of Sunday’s voting. But serious hurdles await the fledgling state. A new government will need to be formed, and official independence will not be granted until July 9. This gives the north at least six months to disrupt the transition and derail the secession after the international camera crews depart. And it’s anybody’s guess whether Monday’s clashes portend the coming greater bomb by Omar Bashir.
While President Bashir has earned a reputation as an untrustworthy negotiator, he has said repeatedly that he will accept the results of the referendum. Nonetheless, a contentious issue remains in the fate of the still-contested border state of Abyie. The tribal leaders made it clear that their people’s allegiance is with the south, though they are legally barred from participating in the referendum. Their frustration could result in a popular declaration of affiliation with the south at any time, which could in turn provoke an attack. Tribal proxy wars have proved a devastatingly effective tactic for the north in the past, with the town of Abyie entirely destroyed as recently as 2008.
“If the north thinks they could do something and get away with it without dramatic serious implications, they are making the biggest mistake of a lifetime,” Senator Kerry official observer of the Referendum.
© 2011 – 2013, Prof. Muse Tegegne. All rights reserved.