Failed governance and political turbulence in Abyei Area of Sudan
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Original versionBergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute (Sudan Working Paper no. SWP 2015:1)
This report is the result of deskwork review of two major documents, signed in 2005 on Abyei area conflict, in order to expose factors that contributed to non-implementation of Abyei Protocol and the rejection, by the Sudan government, of the Abyei Boundaries Commission Report. The main argument is that the Abyei area conflict which presents a landmark of government failure to manage sociocultural diversity in Sudan, has been generated over the ages by a complex array of overlapping historical, economic, ethnic/social, and territorial factors that have not been sufficiently addressed to date by local, national, or international actors. The conflict presents a number of issues that are still in need of careful treatment to avoid risking a return to war in the region, including: land possession and ownership, especially as it relates to shared surface resources such as pasturelands and water; the demarcation of a territorial border between the two Sudans, also linked to sovereignty claims; as well as claims to subterranean resources, such as oil and natural gas. The attitudes of the two communities, instilled by the different phases of Abyei area conflict, shaped the behavior of people: creating a constant need for patron-to-client protection, creating ethnicity-driven ideologies for self-defense, and in the end, creating fundamental rifts between the two ethnic groups.