Dinka-Ngok, Misseriya sign peace accord in Abyei
Representatives of the Dinka Ngok and Misseriya tribes have signed a community peace agreement for peaceful coexistence on Monday. More than 150 delegates from both tribes attended the conference in the disputed Abyei Administrative Area, the traditional homeland of the Dinka Ngok, who have with strong ties with the South Sudanese Dinka tribe.
The three-day conference was supported by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA).
Herders of the Misseriya, a northern Arab tribe, traverse oil-producing Abyei and other Sudan-South Sudan border areas with their cattle in search of water and pasture in the dry season and to trade goods.
The region witnessed a significant upsurge in cases of cattle rustling, hijacks, and other robberies in mid-2017. In February, Radio Dabanga reported that more than 46 people including women from the Misseriya and Dinka tribes were killed and 10,850 head of cattle, sheep, and goats stolen in three separate clashes between the Misseriya and armed groups from South Sudan at El Darab, Um Geroun, and Um Kadma areas in El Dibab locality in West Kordofan.
There is no government or police force in the area and a UN peacekeeping mission, UNISFA, is entrusted with overseeing demilitarisation and maintaining security in the area.
In December last year, the Misseriya committee in Abyei issued a decree that prohibits herders from the Misseriya tribe from crossing with their cows to areas of the Dinka Ngok before the start of the pastoral paths conference.
Omda Najmeldin, the head of the joint court and head of the Misseriya native administration, told Radio Dabanga at the time that his tribe planned to pay ‘blood money’ to the Dinka Ngok community before the end of December.
“The decision to prevent the passage of Misseriya herders will maintain the safety of the members of both Dinka and Misseriya tribes.”
The Joint Community Peace Committee’s (JCPC), a body of community leaders from both sides and supported by the UN and NGOs is mandated to address conflict drivers, such as cattle raids, disputes in the common market, grazing areas for cattle and access to water.
At the conference, Bakhtan Eldgum, a representative of the Misseriya community said: “Since we began the conferences in 2016, we have become one family. I ask all people to maintain peace.”
Afaf Arop, a women leader from the Ngok Dinka community said: “These conferences have helped us a lot. We [the Dinka Ngok and Misseriya] can interact without fear”.