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Update on Abyei: Describing events through 9 April 2015

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In 2005, the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)—now South Sudan’s ruling party—signed the Abyei Protocol of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which committed both sides to implementing a referendum to determine whether Abyei would re-join the southern Sudanese states that now constitute South Sudan. A decade later, the referendum has still not taken place due to continuing disagreements over who is eligible to vote. As of 28 March 2015, political negotiations between the GoS and the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) are at a total standstill. On the ground in Abyei, the Ngok Dinka community struggles due to a lack of resources. It is also frustrated that the GoS, the GRSS, and the international community have not recognized the unilateral referendum that it held in October 2013, in which it voted overwhelmingly to join South Sudan. Over the last two months, Missiriya militias have continued to attack Abyei, sometimes with the backing of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). In the absence of a local police force—mandated by the 20 June 2011 Addis Ababa agreement but never created because of disagreements between the GoS and the GRSS—the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) is unable to effectively prevent such attacks. In the run-up to national elections in Sudan in April 2015, the GoS has intensified its political rhetoric in relation to Abyei, and in such a climate it is unlikely that there will be substantive political developments.

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