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The 14-Mile Area (16 May 2014)

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On 5 April, at a meeting in Khartoum, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir committed once again to the establishment of a Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ), which is to stretch 10 km on either side of a—currently contested—centre-line, along the entire 2,010 km border, with the sole exception of the 14-Mile Area. Located on the border between Northern Bahr el Ghazal and East Darfur, the 14-Mile Area is a strategically important strip of land below the river Kiir that contains important grazing territory for both the Malual Dinka, the area’s principal occupants, and the Rizeigat, the largest cattle-owning group in East Darfur, which annually migrates into the territory. As of May 2014, while the 14-Mile Area remains militarized, political tension in the area is relatively low: the Rizeigat migration is proceeding peacefully, and trade between Sudan and South Sudan has lowered the cost of commodities in the important trade towns of Warrawa and Gokk Machar, Northern Bahr el Ghazal.

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