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Source: Radio Tamazuj

The government of South Sudan has called for the Misseriya Arabs living in the Abyei area to go back to Sudan and not to enter the disputed area. The Arabs usually migrate seasonally from West Kordofan into Abyei, where Ngok Dinka live year-round.

Last year prior to the start of the civil war the South Sudanese government was largely silent a ‘community referendum’ backed by a wing of the South’s ruling party, which voted for Abyei to join South Sudan.

Misseriya leaders in Khartoum strongly denounced the vote, threatening to hold their own community referendum. Out of concern the poll could aggravate tensions with Khartoum, the South Sudanese government under President Salva Kiir did not recognize the unilateral vote.

But on Wednesday the spokesperson in the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ambassador Mawien Makol Arik,  made a public statement blaming Misseriya nomads for insecurity and demanding they leave.

“Abyei does not belong to Misseriya. They just came to the Abyei unlawfully. Abyei belongs to the nine Dinka Ngok [chiefdoms] and because they are raiding cattle and killing Dinka Ngok that is why the government of South Sudan demanded them to leave Abyei,” Mawien explained.

This comes after an attack last week allegedly carried out by a combined armed force of Misseriya and a South Sudanese militia under the leadership of Thomas Thiel.

According to Justice Deng Biong Mijak, a senior SPLM member, militia fighters armed with PKM sub-machine guns attacked a Ngok Dinka cattle camp at Gong e Mou near Abyei town, attempting to loot around 400 head of cattle.

Local forces resisted, forcing the attackers to leave some of the cattle behind at the camp. The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) later also intervened at Wun e Ruok, with the attackers forced to abandon 250 heads of cattle as they fled.

Radio Tamazuj was unable to reach the Sudanese ambassador in Juba for comment about the South Sudanese ministry’s statement.

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