Cablegate: Misseriya in Muglad Reject Pca Decision

DE RUEHKH #1389/01 3471054
O 131054Z DEC 09




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary: In meetings with Poloff in Muglad on December 9
and 10, Misseriya from traditional leadership, civil society groups,
and local NGOs universally expressed the view that the Permanent
Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling on Abyei (Ref A) was an unjust
taking of their land. Members of these groups also universally
condemned the border demarcation process as misguided and a barrier
to peaceful co-existence. However, Dr. Rahama Azaz,
recently-appointed locality commissioner for the area, predicted
that the Misseriya will not fight for Abyei. These meetings with a
relatively diverse and educated cross-section of Misseriya society
limit the hope that the solution to Misseriya concerns about the PCA
decision is an awareness campaign, since these individuals were
focused not on access or grazing rights, but instead on land
ownership. End Summary.

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Traditional Leaders: Ownership is Issue, Not Access
--------------------------------------------- ------

2. (SBU) In a meeting with Poloff in Muglad on December 10,
traditional leaders echoed many of the same themes expressed to U.S.
Special Envoy to Sudan General Scott Gration on November 19 (Ref.
B). Each speaker repeatedly returned to the idea that the PCA
decision is a misguided and unjust taking of Misseriya land, and
that the parties to the arbitration did not represent Misseriya
interests. In response to questioning, speakers acknowledged that
the Government of National Unity (GNU) is their government and
represents them, except with respect to the Abyei issue. They also
stated that the only peaceful way forward is for the decision to be
appealed or set aside and a new arrangement made with involvement of
Misseriya and Ngok Dinka traditional leadership.

3. (SBU) Leaders in this meeting made it abundantly clear that their
concern regarding Abyei is ownership of the land, not access or
grazing rights. (Note: The PCA decision guarantees Misseriya people
secondary rights to Abyei.) Speakers noted that the Misseriya wish
for peaceful co-existence with the Dinka, but will fight to keep
their land. In response to the idea that the Abyei referendum in
January, 2011 will actually decide whether Abyei district becomes
part of northern or southern Sudan, leaders rejected a referendum on
the status of Abyei.

4. (SBU) Traditional leaders focused on border demarcation as the
crux of the issue, stating that any form of demarcation is a barrier
to peaceful co-existence and will be resisted. Furthermore, these
leaders expressed the view that other issues, such as development of
the region, are of secondary importance, or simply impossible,
without first addressing this issue. For instance, when asked
whether there are plans to hold an overdue annual migration
conference with Ngok Dinka traditional leadership, Misseriya leaders
rejected the idea, and said that the Misseriya cannot look to the
future without first solving the demarcation problem.

--------------------------------------------- ------
Local NGOs - "This is the Opinion of All Misseriya"
--------------------------------------------- ------

5. (SBU) On December 9, leaders of local NGOs in Muglad, including
Elghoni, Angato, Setab, Zamzam, and Shahad, told Poloff that local
Misseriya believe that the PCA decision took their land, and that a
fence will be built north of Abyei. Local NGO leaders added that
they themselves share this belief, stating "this is the opinion of
all Misseriya." When asked whether people in the local community
know the content of the PCA decision, these leaders said this is the
responsibility of the government, as the decision is a political
issue, and that there has not been a dissemination campaign. They
added that the PCA decision was one reached on behalf of the
National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation
Movement (SPLM), and therefore does not concern the Misseriya.

6. (SBU) NGO leaders stated that it is their goal to build peace and
confidence in Misseriya areas, but that these efforts have been
damaged by the PCA decision and border demarcation, and any
demarcation of the boundary will prevent a durable peace between
Misseriya and Ngok Dinka. When asked whether there were plans to
hold a peace conference between Misseriya and Ngok Dinka traditional
leaders, these NGO leaders expressed support for the idea, but said
that to create the foundation for such a conference, the PCA
decision must first be suspended or dissolved.

--------------------------------------------- ---
Civil Society: Boundary Will Create More Conflict
--------------------------------------------- ----

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7. (SBU) Civil society leaders from Muglad's youth group and women's
union told Poloff that a boundary between Misseriya and Dinka will
create more conflict and hinder civil society efforts to foster
peaceful co-existence. They repeated many of the same themes stated
by traditional and NGO leaders regarding the PCA decision and border
demarcation. Women's leaders added that there is a lack of security
near the proposed Abyei boundary, claiming that people are being
killed in the area and prevented from crossing into the Abyei
district. (Note: Poloff has not received any information
corroborating killings in Abyei or that Misseriya have been
prevented from entering the Abyei district. Poloff did note
numerous checkpoints manned by Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and
militia forces affiliated with SAF on the road entering and leaving
the Abyei district. Mark Rutgers, UN Coordinator for Abyei,
reported a gunfight in Unity State on November 26 in which three
migrating Misseriya and two Sudan People's Liberation Army soldiers
were killed. End Note.) Women's leaders suggested that a peace
conference between women from Abyei and Muglad may be helpful at
reducing tensions, but stated that currently they do not have the
resources for such an event.

Abyei Commissioner: Misseriya Will Not Fight

8. (SBU) On December 10, Poloff met with Dr. Rahama Azaz (NCP),
recently-appointed commissioner for Abyei Locality. (Note: Abyei
Locality is in the western sector of Southern Kordofan State, and
includes Muglad and land north of the northern boundary of the Abyei
Special Administrative District. However, it does not include the
Abyei Special Administrative District. Azaz is from the Misseriya
tribe. End Note.) When asked, Azaz stated that the Misseriya will
not fight to block the PCA decision and Abyei referendum, but
acknowledged that some Misseriya have joined the Darfur Justice and
Equality Movement (JEM) rebel movement (Note: Although JEM
frequently boasts of widespread support in Kordofan, any connection
between JEM and Misseriya tribal leaders is most likely ideological.
End note.) Azaz stated that the Misseriya want development in
Muglad, and noted that while coordination with local and
international NGOs has been good, the area has many unaddressed
needs. Azaz said, however, that what he most wants from the
international community is for the UN's disarmament, demobilization
and reintegration program to come to his locality, as the amount of
weapons in the area is creating insecurity. Azaz stated that
dissemination of the PCA decision is not taking place and that it
should be the responsibility of the federal government.

9. (SBU) Comment: Views expressed in these meetings with a
relatively diverse and educated cross-section of Misseriya society
debunk the notion that the solution to Misseriya concerns about the
PCA decision lies solely in a comprehensive awareness campaign.
Misseriya leaders were focused on ownership of the land, not the
secondary right of access promised by the PCA. Speakers made a
number of references to the situation of the Palestinians, and
passions in the community are clearly high. There was no evidence
that representatives of these various groups had coordinated their
responses in advance, but the same views were repeatedly expressed,
often without prompting, and in relation to questions on seemingly
unrelated topics. Azaz's statement that the Misseriya will not
fight is hopeful, although it may have been politically-motivated.
End comment.


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