Traders fleeing Sudan's Abyei as confrontation looms between Ngok Dinka and Messiriya

February 13, 2008 (NSV)

Two days ago NSV alerted the public that situation in Abyei was developing precariously towards confrontation between the two communities of Dinka Ngok and the Misseriya. Misseriya so far remained on the offensive, still occupying Bolom Junction and Difra oil rig, 45km north of Abyei town. For fear of loss of lives and properties, many traders and Misseriya in Abyei town are now evacuating the town with all their belongings. There are no communications now between Abyei and the whole north since the Misseriya blocked the highway more than a week ago. Food supplies are running out of the town beside fuel and other non food items.

NSV observed that yesterday some northern traders transported their children and wives towards Mugled, Babanusa and some further north. "The whole of Hai Neem is being abandoned by the traders now. There are more than ten lorries packing up properties and luggage," one onlooker told NSV by phone from the town's center. Hai Neem is a residential area mainly occupied by northern traders. The SPLA in Abyei cannot protect the citizens of Abyei at the moment because their number with JIU is limited. Its top representative, Col. Valentino Tocmac is faced with difficult task should the Misseriya attack the Ngok as they are threatening now. The fleeing traders are expected to be escorted out of Abyei within today or tomorrow according to a reliable source from the area. During the war, hundreds of Misseriya men settled in Abyei as part of Popular Defense Force. Some forcefully remained in the town doing small businesses.

In a NSV's survey, citizens of Abyei are blaming government of national unity for delaying the implementation of Abyei Protocol within CPA provisions.

The Misseriya are getting more biter since the SPLM is going ahead with the formation of an administration to carry out civil work in the oil-rich area. SPLM's Edward Abyei Lino is joined by new secretaries who were appointed five days ago to run Abyei in the next coming months. One prominent community leader who refused to be identified spoke to NSV; "If the Messeiriya see the incoming administration in the area as a threat to their livelihood, they should go with their demand to the presidency."

Businesses in Abyei will now remain in the hands of few Darfuri traders who flocked to the town after CPA was signed. On another note, the newly installed Zain Mobile network which is heavily controlled by the security is being disrupted so that news does not leak out to wider public. As NSV went online, SAF which comprises part of JIU was helplessly trying to prevent fleeing traders from leaving Abyei by putting tyres on the road.


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