News / Africa

Abyei Residents Consider Unilateral Referendum, Says South Sudan Diplomat

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (L) shakes hands with South Sudan's President Salva Kiir as African Union mediator and former South African leader Thabo Mbeki looks on during a meeting on the situation between Sudan and South Sudan, in the EthiopiSudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (L) shakes hands with South Sudan's President Salva Kiir as African Union mediator and former South African leader Thabo Mbeki looks on during a meeting on the situation between Sudan and South Sudan, in the Ethiopi
x
Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (L) shakes hands with South Sudan's President Salva Kiir as African Union mediator and former South African leader Thabo Mbeki looks on during a meeting on the situation between Sudan and South Sudan, in the Ethiopi
Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (L) shakes hands with South Sudan's President Salva Kiir as African Union mediator and former South African leader Thabo Mbeki looks on during a meeting on the situation between Sudan and South Sudan, in the Ethiopi
James Butty
South Sudan’s Foreign Minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said residents of the disputed oil-rich Abyei region are restless and contemplating holding a referendum to determine whether to remain in Sudan or return to South Sudan.  

The African Union High Implementation Panel has proposed holding the referendum this month.  But, while Juba says it supports a referendum, Khartoum is opposed and favors a negotiated political settlement.  

As Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir visits South Sudan Tuesday, Benjamin said it is essential for the two leaders to come to some understanding on the Abyei referendum.

“That is the proposal of the African Union that the referendum on Abyei was to happen in October, but there has not been any sign of that because Khartoum has not yet agreed to that.  And, the citizens of Abyei are proposing a community solution.  Therefore, it is important that President Bashir and President Salva Kiir Mayardit put their heads together to make sure that the referendum is carried out so that we avoid any unilateral declaration of a referendum by the community of Abyei,” he said.

Benjamin said South Sudan supports the international community proposal of an October referendum, but does not support unilateral action by Abyei residents.

He said, with just two weeks left in the month, the residents of Abyei are becoming restless.
                   
Abyei is inhabited by the Misseriya tribe of Arab origin supported by the north and the Ngok Dinka tribe, which enjoys support in South Sudan.

Benjamin said Abyei is overwhelmingly populated by Ngok Dinka and there is no presence of Misseriya in Dinka Ngok territory.

“First of all, the north Dinka are only found in the Abyei area whose boundaries have been drawn and ratified by The Hague International Court.  So, there is no presence of Messeriya in Abyei Dinka Ngok territory. If there are any other residents, it could be some few Merreriyas, it could be some few Sudanese or few South Sudanese who could be there.  But, the territory is specifically for the Nile Ngok Dinka,” Benjamin said.
Butty interview with Benjamin
Butty interview with Benjamini
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Perplexed from: Juba
October 22, 2013 8:05 AM
All of a sudden South Sudan does not support a referendum conducted by the nine chiefdoms of Ngok (the legitimate owners of Abyei according to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Permanent Court of Arbitration, Abyei Roadmap, AUHIP, and every other measure)? After the President of South Sudan has been calling for people from Abyei to return home and participate in the referendum for months, even going so far as to release all public employees from Abyei so that they can return home and to allocate public funds for their return? I wish Mr. Butty would do a bit more research and highlight the extreme hypocrisy of that position.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid