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Cablegate: Misseryia Organize to Block Abyei Boundary Demarcation

VZCZCXRO5515
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1135/01 2811424
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 081424Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4535
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001135

NSC FOR MGAVIN, LETIM
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PBTS PINS KPKO AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: MISSERYIA ORGANIZE TO BLOCK ABYEI BOUNDARY DEMARCATION

REF: A) KHARTOUM 862 B) KHARTOUM 1067

1. (SBU) Summary: Approximately one thousand members of the
Misseryia, an Arabic-speaking nomadic tribe located primarily in
South Kordofan State, met October 5 to reject the July 22 decision
of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), which defined the
boundaries of Abyei. Conference attendees agreed to organize a
Misseryia armed force, and threatened the use of violence if
necessary. Proven fighters, the Misseryia will be a major spoiler
to the peace process unless a compromise is found to prevent them
from taking up arms. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- ---
MISSERIYA REJECT PCA DECISION, THREATEN VIOLENCE
--------------------------------------------- ---

2. (SBU) In an October 6 telephone conversation with Poloff, Sadig
Babo Nimir, younger brother of the paramount leader of the
Misseryia, confirmed press reports that approximately 1,000 members
of the Misseriya tribe, a nomadic, Arabic-speaking ethnic group
located primarily in South Kordofan state, met October 4-5 to reject
the July 22 decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)
which defined the boundaries of the special administrative district
of Abyei. Nimir did not attend the conference, but said resolutions
rejecting the PCA decision and the process of demarcation had been
passed by the group. He also said that the group had decided to
appeal the PCA decision to The Hague and to the Supreme Court of
Sudan, and demanded that the Government of National Unity demarcate
all other boundaries in the country before demarcating the Abyei
boundary. He confirmed press reports that a threat to create an
armed force had issued from the conference, but downplayed its
significance; the Misseryia are already well-armed, he said, and
would need only to come together to fight if the need arose. Nimer
opined that the PCA decision was a deal between the Sudan People's
Liberation Movement (SPLM), and the National Congress Party (NCP),
did not include the Misseryia, and does not bind the Misseryia, who
will not abide by it.

3. (SBU) Nimir told Poloff that he thinks the decision of the
attendees reflects the views of all but a few Misseryia. However,
in an October 7 conversation with Poloff, David Raikow, Political
Officer for the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), said that
he believed conference attendees were primarily Misseryia
hard-liners, and that there are numerous moderate Misseryia whose
views were not represented. Press reports indicated that South
Kordofan Legislative Assembly members representing Abyei, Muglad,
El-Salam, Lagawa, Kailk, and Babanousa, all areas with a significant
Misseryia presence, attended the conference.

--------------------------------------
ROOT CAUSE OF PROBLEM: DESERTIFICATION
--------------------------------------

4. (SBU) In a September 28 meeting with PolChief, Nimir placed
direct responsibility for rising tensions in the area on the PCA
decision, but said that the root of the problem is the
desertification of traditional Misseryia grazing land and dwindling
access to water. Nimir said the government has not honored promises
to use oil money to drill wells for water or to provide other
services in Misseryia areas.

5. (SBU) Nimir said that the Misseryia and the Ngok Dinka shared
centuries of cooperation and could find a way to live together.
However, he said that, while war is not a solution, implementation
of the PCA decision will lead to war, calling the decision "a
poisoned knife in the back of the CPA."

6. (SBU) Nimir said that the Misseriya have good relations with the
SPLM, but are beginning to have a problem with the NCP. "The NCP
doesn't accept international justice when it comes to Bashir, but
are willing to accept the PCA decision," he said, adding that the
NCP is trying to rupture the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
Nimir said, however, that if the South secedes, the Misseryia will
stay with the North. Nimir said the Ngok Dinka would also prefer to
stay with the North, and that the best approach is a federal
solution for Abyei, allowing Abyei residents dual citizenship.

------------------------------------------
SECURITY DELAYS ABYEI BOUNDARY DEMARCATION
------------------------------------------

7. (SBU) On October 5, Poloff spoke by phone with Kuwal Beyong
(SPLM), Deputy Chair of the Abyei Boundary Demarcation Committee,
the committee tasked with demarcating the Abyei boundary as
described by the July 22 PCA decision (Ref B). Beyong confirmed
news reports that the Abyei Joint Integrated Unit (JIU), tasked with

KHARTOUM 00001135 002 OF 002


providing security for the demarcation team, had been ordered back
to its base on September 28. Beyong stated that he did not know why
the JIU had been withdrawn, and said the demarcation team had
encountered some local Misseryia, but that no friction had resulted.
(Note: October 6 press reports quoted an unnamed Sudanese Armed
Forces (SAF) commander in Nyama who said the JIU needed to provide
advance written documentation of their visit to the border area, as
this was not part of their area of responsibility. Post has been
unable to confirm this report. End Note.) As of October 5, Beyond
said, o physical demarcation of the Abyei boundary had occurred, but
the Committee was scheduled to meet on October 6 to create a
timetable for continuing work.

8. (SBU) Comment: The nomadic Misseryia, arguably Khartoum's most
effective fighters in the North-South civil war, are reportedly
restless and discontented with Khartoum's treatment since the war's
end. Although the PCA decision emphasizes that it is without
prejudice to the Misseryia's traditional grazing rights in Abyei,
the Misseryia are aware that in 2011, the Abyei boundaries set
pursuant to the arbitration award could become an international
border. Coupled with their distrust of the government, that
prospect has turned the boundary demarcation process into an
existential threat to their entire way of life. End Comment.

ASQUINO

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