Cablegate: Administrator Mayok Describes Progress, Problems in Abyei

DE RUEHKH #1767/01 3451351
P 101351Z DEC 08




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: During a December 6 meeting with CDA Fernandez,
Abyei Administrator Arop Mayok described the situation there as "ok,
generally." IDPs are returning only slowly, but his Administration
is working to reduce Dinka-Misseriya tensions and planning is well
underway for this year's migration of Misseriya herdsmen with their
cattle to the south. He said that the Joint Integrated Police Unit
(JIPU) is being replaced by a locally-recruited force, directly
responsible to his Administration. However, he added the
Administration has yet to receive any of the oil revenues promised
under the Roadmap agreement, that an SAF unit remains in the Difra
oil field, oil police are unregulated, and the SPLA is threatening
to remain in Agok if the SAF does not withdraw. END SUMMARY

Some IDPs Returning, But Very Cautiously
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2. (SBU) On December 6, CDA Fernandez met in Khartoum with
Administrator Arop Mayok for an update on the progress of the Abyei
Administration. The Charge remarked that he had met a few days
earlier with Misseriya leader Sidig Babu Nimr (ref. A), who had
nothing but praise for Mayok's work so far. Mayok described the
situation in Abyei as "ok, generally." He estimated that only about
10,000 of the 50-60,000 people displaced by the May fighting have
returned permanently, due to continued uncertainty about the
security situation. He said that many IDPs commute daily from Agok,
traveling to Abyei in the morning and returning before dark. Local
residents do not want to rebuild yet because their claims for losses
and compensation still have to be adjudicated.

Working to Resolve Lingering Bitterness
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3. (SBU) Mayok said that the biggest problem is the bitter ethnic
feelings that remain from May, especially on one side. The Dinka
continue to be very angry over the looting carried out by
Misseriya. According to Mayok, the SAF stripped the town of
everything they wanted after the Dinka had fled, then they invited
the Misseriya to take whatever was left, which they did with
alacrity, carrying the loot to Muglad where a market for stolen
goods called the "Abyei Market" was set up.

4. (SBU) Mayok said that, if left unresolved, such bitterness could
eventually erupt again into war. To try to reduce tensions, his
Administration is organizing a series of meetings. First, a
conference of traditional Ngok Dinka leaders was held in Agok the
previous week to agree on a united Dinka position. Second, on
December 5, Dinka and Misseriya leaders met to discuss arrangements
for this year's annual Misseriya cattle migration. Finally, he
plans to call a meeting of all of the states neighboring Abyei.

Misseriya-Migration Security
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5. (SBU) At the December 5 meeting between Dinka and Misseriya
leaders, Mayok said the first hour had been devoted to allowing the
former to vent their anger at Misseriya actions in May. The
Misseriya took the criticism and did not respond in kind. Then
participants from both sides got down to the work of planning this
year's Misseriya cattle migration. He said that the Misseriya had
agreed to leave all their weapons (including automatic rifles)
behind. The question now is how to provide security for the
Misseriya herdsman and his animals? According to Mayok, the SAF and
SPLA soldiers in the Abyei JIU are not, in fact, really integrated
(although co-located,) and the Joint Integrated Unit (JIU) is liable
to collapse in the face of a renewed Dinka-Misseriya clash, as
happened in May. He added that the Abyei JIU should exclude local
Dinka and Misseriya soldiers, and should instead be manned from
elsewhere in Sudan. Therefore, the mission of providing security
during the migration will be assigned to the Abyei police, reporting
to Mayok. Their numbers need to be augmented and they need more
equipment and vehicles.

Still No Oil Revenues From Khartoum
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6. (SBU) Mayok confirmed that his Administration has drafted two
budgets, an emergency 2008 budget and a 2009 budget, but that it
still has not received from Khartoum any of the oil revenues to
which it is entitled under the Roadmap agreement. The Charge
commented that neither are the Misseriya receiving their share,
according to Babu Nimr. Mayok's Administration is meeting its
day-to-day expenses by borrowing money from the local traders in the
Abyei-town market place, promising to repay when revenues finally
begin to flow.

7. (SBU) CDA Fernandez remarked that the Embassy had been told by
the government at different times that either the money was being

KHARTOUM 00001767 002 OF 002

disbursed, or could not be disbursed because of the Abyei
Administration's lack of capacity. He commented that this is a
typical NCP strategy, the same as it is pursuing in regions not
controlled by that party, to give the Administration the
responsibility for governing Abyei, but deny it any resources.
Mayok agreed that the NCP was forced to sign the Roadmap agreement,
but now it is delaying full implementation. He said the Government
of National Unity's Office of the President has told him it will
respond to his requests within ten days. The GoS Ministry of
Finance says it is unable to disburse money requested by the
Administration absent direction from the Presidency in the form of a
letter, which the latter promised to provide by December 7. The
CDA asked Mayok to inform him whether or not the Presidency provided
its approval on time. The CDA said he would follow-up with the GoS
if it did not. (Note: On December 8, Mayok told USAIDoff that he
would receive an update from the Presidency on December 17. It is
not clear whether the original date was a miscommunication or if
this is a further delay. Post will continue to follow-up. End

Local Police Replace JIPU
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8. (SBU) Mayok reported that the Joint Integrated Police Unit
(JIPU), recruited from both north and south Sudan under the Roadmap
agreement, had been only an interim measure and now is being
replaced by a local police unit, responsible to the Abyei
Administration. It is this new Abyei police that is to provide
security for the cattle migration. He said that the Administration
is free to recruit its own personnel, but that the new force badly
needs equipment and assistance in training. The CDA said that the
USG is interested in assisting police in Abyei, but because it is
prohibited from providing assistance to the North, the inclusion of
northern police in the JIPU has presented a problem. Replacing the
JIPU with a locally-recruited force could help to resolve this
issue, and he promised to convey this new information to Washington.

Mutual SAF-SPLA Withdrawal Remains Incomplete
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9. (SBU) Mayok told the CDA that the SAF still has not withdrawn
from the oilfield at Difra. There is still a platoon at Difra and
there is the problem of the unregulated "oil police" guarding the
Difra fields and thus outside the Roadmap commitment to withdraw all
SAF and SPLA from the Abyei area. He said that his Administration
is considering establishing a joint force under its control to
provide oil-field security and remove this excuse.

10. (SBU) On the SPLA side, Mayok said the SPLA military police
unit had left Agok, but that an SPLA logistical platoon remains to
support the IDP population. The SPLA has pledged to leave Agok
completely, he said, but states it will return if the SAF remains in
Difra. The SPLA also threatens to block UNMIS monitors from Agok,
if the SAF prohibits UNMIS from patrolling north of Difra.

- - - -
11. (SBU) Mayok confirmed what we had heard earlier from Abyei's UN
Head of Office (ref. B) and Misseriya Deputy Nazir Babu Nimr,
although his assessment of Dinka-Misseriya relations is somewhat
less rosy than Nimr's. Under the Roadmap, the Administration is
entitled to tens of millions in revenues from local oil fields,
which are badly needed to fund long-delayed, critical development
projects. Such economic development would go far to ease continuing
resentment between Dinka and Misseriya. The NCP's continuing
unwillingness to provide oil revenues to Mayok's Administration
keeps low grade tensions simmering and contributes to Abyei's
potential as a flashpoint for violence once again. If the Abyei
police is now entirely under the local administrator and no longer
"joint," there should be no legal restrictions to American
assistance for this unit.


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