UN Mission in Sudan Civil Affairs Division Conflict Profile

Conflict Summary Missiriya - SPLA political transition & socio-economic SPLA, former Missiriya PDF & armed nomads, SAF border demarcation, threat to traditional livelihoods, transitional political processes, July 2008 Southern Kordofan, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Unity, Warrap, Abyei Area

Conflict: Conflict Type: Actors: Issues: Date: States affected:

Conflict Type & Political & Socioeconomic

Conflict Narrative. Since December 2007, the Missiriya have been engaged in a number of severe violent conflicts with the SPLA. The Missiriya clashed violently with the SPLA near Meiram (80 km northwest of Abyei) in December 2007 and again in March 2008, causing a high number of fatalities on both sides. In April 2008 another clash occurred in the contested town of Kharasana and at an SPLA checkpoint 30 km to the south. On each occasion the fighting continued for a number of days and involved heavy weaponry. There have been continual low-level acts of violence and abuse perpetrated by both sides since before the outbreak of serious conflict. All clashes have taken place along Missiriya livestock migration routes and close to SPLA garrisons north of the 1/1/56 line.

Actors Missiriya

The Missiriya are split into two branches: the Humr and Zuruq. The Humr inhabit what was Western Kordofan and their migration routes take them to grazing areas mainly around the contested area of Abyei (along the Bahr el Arab/Kiir River), but also into Southern Darfur, Northern Bahr El Ghazal, and Unity State. The Zuruq mainly inhabit Lagawa province and their migrations take them from northern Kordofan south to an area between Higlig and White Lakes, and also into Unity State. Historically, the distance between the two main

UN Mission in Sudan Civil Affairs Division Conflict Profile
branches of the tribe, Humr and Zuruq, has fluctuated from the extremes of almost complete separation to very close tribal unity. Currently, the two branches are close, at the traditional leadership level at least, partly due to their common grievances. Broadly, the Missiriya are losers from the CPA and are aggrieved on a number of fronts. The dismantling and integration of West Kordofan into South Kordofan State, North Kordofan State, and the special-status province of Abyei represents the loss of their home state and diminishes their representation at the state and national level. They reject the ABC report and feel that the creation of an SPLM/A border that bisects their migration routes and largely cuts them off from their dry season camps is an existential threat to their way of life and traditions. The Missiriya murahalin had been auxiliary cattle-guards formed in the 1960s during the first civil war to protect Baggara herds in their southward movements. They were revived after the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement, with automatic weapons brought in from Libya, Chad, and Uganda and often with the support of Missiriya in the police and army. In the late 1980s they were armed again by the GoS, partly out of Missiriya demands for the means of self-protection against the SPLA and partly as a function of Khartoum’s militia strategy for fighting the war. The Missiriya were significant contributors to the Popular Defense Forces (PDFs) that were the main northern militia force after 1989. Since the signing of the CPA, these PDFs have not been disarmed and can now be identified in three groups: the Debab Forces that joined the SPLA; non-aligned PDF alienated from both Khartoum and the SPLM; and those PDFs still loyal to Khartoum. The armed fighters that have been clashing with the SPLA are from the latter two sections of the PDF. Furthermore, there are divisions within the Missiriya that exist along generational lines. Missiriya youth movements and movements under nontraditional leaders, also deeply unsatisfied with the current situation, are challenging and breaking away from the authority of the traditional leadership in various directions.. SPLA is the official army for South Sudan during the CPA-mandated transition period. Neither party to the CPA has fully completed the withdrawal of forces on respective sides of the 1/1/56 border line. The SPLA have maintained troops and garrisons north of Abyei town and in the town of Kharasana. Before the CPA, the Southern Sudan Defense Force (SSDF) of Paulino Matib Nhial, currently the SPLA General Chief of Staff, was in control of Kharasana area. This paved the way for the SPLA’s presence in the area following the 2006 Juba Declaration and subsequent absorption of the SSDF into the SPLA. The SPLA has since maintained its troops inside and to the south of Kharasana, until the April 2008 fighting between the Missiriya and SPLA led to the latter’s withdraw from the town. During the fighting around Meiram, the SPLA withdrew southwards temporarily on both occasions but returned soon after. Since the SAF – SPLA conflict in Abyei of 13-20 May and the signing of the Abyei Roadmap, the SPLA have withdrawn south of the 1/1/56 line. The SPLA, in Abyei largely made up of Dinka Ngok, view the Misseriya with hostility due to the legacy of the brutal war in the area, the atrocities suffered by civilians and the suspicion they are still being used as an NCP proxy force. Although SAF maintain large numbers of troops close to the sites of the Missiriya–SPLA conflicts, they appear to have maintained a policy of nonengagement. In Meiram town itself there is a garrison of the 15th Division based in Babanusa, and there is also a large SAF contingent south of Kharasana close to the Heglig oil wells. However, SAF has not actively engaged in any of the fighting that has taken place. This has generated some anger among the Missiriya who feel they deserve SAF support. There have been accusations that SAF provided support and medical assistance and that some of the Missiriya fighters



UN Mission in Sudan Civil Affairs Division Conflict Profile
may also have been SAF soldiers. After the Abyei Roadmap, SAF is obligated to withdraw outside of the Abyei Interim Area. This yet to be fully implemented. Meiram and Heglig fall notably outside the Area. Historical/Political Context Pre-CPA The Missiriya have bad memories of the period after the 1972 Addis Ababa peace agreement. The creation of the Southern regional government following the end of the first civil war in 1972 brought challenges for the Missiriya. The southern regional government, though weak in some respects, had far more powers than the northern provincial governments along its borders. Southern administrators, army, and police tended to give local Dinka the sort of support in such disputes that northern administrators had given the Baggara before 1972. Mobile police units patrolled the grazing grounds and often clashed violently with the Missiriya. From the late 1970s to the outbreak of civil war in 1983, the Missiriya were involved in numerous violent incidents. Taking positions in the northern-backed PDFs, the Missiriya were involved in some of the most intense and brutal fighting of the war and targeting of civilians, especially south of Abyei. The war shattered relations between the Missiriya and Dinka Ngok, but the tribe maintained good relations with the Nuer in northern Unity State largely due to their affiliation with SAF. Post-CPA Partly due to the faltering pace of CPA implementation, especially the Abyei Protocol and border demarcation, there has been reluctance on both sides to redeploy their forces. The presence of the SPLA north of the 1/1/56 line has led to numerous accusations from the Missiriya of checkpoints on migration and other movements, tax extortion from migrating herds, harassment, assault, and murder. Many Missiriya state that this is reminiscent of the post-1972 environment. They currently have little faith that their migrations and grazing – on which their livelihood as a nomadic community depends – will be guaranteed as stipulated in the CPA. The SPLM/A is aggrieved by the lack of progress over the implementation of the Abyei Protocol and what it claims to be a violation of the CPA on behalf of the NCP. The movement of SPLA and SAF troops around the Abyei area and other border locations is part of the maneuvering for advantage being played by the two parties.

Threat & Risk Issues Missiriya Although the Abyei Roadmap has brought an element of stability to the region Migration & for the time being, continuing hostility between the Missiriya and the SPLA Grazing rights means the annual Missiriya move into the south will being a continuing source of (short and long instability. This will be increasingly so if Abyei is to secede with South Sudan, term) placing an international border across the Misseriya’s path. SPLA Presence Both the SPLA and SAF maintain troop presence north and south of the 1/1/56 North of the 1/1/56 line in violation of the CPA. Continued SPLA presence north of the border Line antagonizes Missiriya nomads, especially former PDF soldiers and armed civilians. Triggers Interference with migrations/grazing Armed Missiriya Nomads Unfavorable

Given the current level of tension any interference with migration and grazing or harassment of nomads will generate violent clashes. Many in the SPLM demand that the Missiriya migrate into the south unarmed. Armed Missiriya entering southern territory will generate a hostile response from the SPLA. A resolution of the 1/1/56 border or the final Abyei area border that is

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Border Demarcation Flashpoints Kharasana unfavorable to either party will trigger instability. Particularly if the Missiriya perceive the border as fatal to their lives as nomads.


South of the Abyei Interim Area

Many in Unity State believe that Kharasana should be south of 1/1/56 and there is a strong sense of resentment and humiliation at the ejection of the SPLA from Kharasana. Kharasana and the area south of it could yet be the scene of more fighting. Bloody clashes between the SPLA and Missiriya took place in Meiram in late 2007 and early 2008. A continued SPLA presence that far north could mean further clashes between the southern army and armed Missiriya, whether for Missiriya tribal interests or for the north by proxy. With the redeployment of the SPLA south of the Abyei Interim Area there exists a risk of conflict when the Misseriya cattle herds migrate in their grazing areas south of this line.

Recent Incidents SPLA-Missiriya Clashes in Meiram 22-29 December 2007 Detention of Misseriya Nomads by SPLA 1 19 January 2008 Missiriya–SPLA Clashes Near Meiram 01 March 2008 Kharasana Conflict 24 April 2008

Missiriya and SPLA forces around Meiram engage in some of the heaviest fighting since the signing of the CPA. The fighting was triggered by the detention and beating of an armed herdsman. The Missiriya attacked en masse the SPLA garrison at Grinti (15 km south of Meiram). Missiriya suffer in excess of thirty dead, while SPLA casualties were unknown. Hospitals in Aweil were said to contain a large number of dead and injured. On 19 January SPLA military police allegedly arrested seven armed Misseriya nomads in Ariek for possession of firearms and suspicion of intent to carry out malicious acts. On 20 January, 11 Misseriya nomads unsuccessfully attempted to free their tribesman from custody by force, apparently killing one SPLA soldier before fleeing the scene. Fighting broke out in the village of Buk, near Meiram, between armed Missiriya and the SPLA garrisoned close by. The fighting led to 34 Missiriya deaths and 76 injuries. SPLA casualties were unknown. On 24 April fighting broke out between the Missiriya and the SPLA in Kharasana and Gatasna village (also known as Checkpoint 23, 38km south of Kharasana). The incident began in a Dinka public court in Gatasna where two Missiriya brothers were attempting to claim money owed to them by a Dinka Sultan. A dispute ensued between the Sultan and the Missiriya, and the Sultan’s bodyguards shot and killed both the Missiriya who were armed with knives. As word spread armed Missiriya attacked the SPLA garrison at Gatasna. On the 25th April armed Missiriya from Keilak and northwards attacked the SPLA garrison in Kharasana and continued fighting in Gatasna. The SPLA withdrew from Gatasna and the village was largely destroyed, while in Kharasana the SPLA garrison was besieged for 3 days without water with a number of civilians sheltering inside. On 28th April an agreement was reached between the Governor’s of Southern Kordofan and Unity States to redeploy the SPLA into Unity State; Open the roads; and resolve grievances through traditional mechanism. Civilians sheltering in the SPLA compound where bussed to Unity in SAF trucks. Both locations have been severely damaged and most of the residents displaced with reportedly up to 4000 sheltering in Unity State. Kharasana is now under the control of South Kordofan State government. Conflict erupts when the PSLA kill one SAF soldier north of Abyei town. Over the next week heavy fighting sees the SPLA and approx 50,000 IDPs withdraw south to Agok. There is considerable anecdotal evidence that armed Missiriya assisted SAF during the last night of heavy fighting, thereby flushing the SPLA out of Abyei.

Abyei Conflict 13-20 May 2008

UN Mission in Sudan Civil Affairs Division Conflict Profile

Response Mechanisms National Committee on Border Dispute Resolution This ad hoc government-sponsored committee was chaired by Ahmed Haroun and instrumental in mediating the resolution between Unity State and Southern Kordofan State after the April 2008 Kharasana fighting. Abyei Joint Executive Committee Led by 2nd Vice President Ali Osman Taha and Vice President of South Sudan, Riek Machar, this was the body that finally negotiated the Abyei Road Map interim agreement and is the most effective high executive body for resolving Abyei issues. They may be able to play a role in resolving cross-border and inter-state conflict. Inter-State Negotiations Bi-lateral and multilateral inter-state agreements have been the common method in dealing with cross-border issues, namely migration. They have achieved mixed results and largely depend on the personalities of the governors in question. For example, Omar Suleiman (SKS) had poor relations with Taban Deng (former Unity) and many of the bi-state conferences under their leadership achieved no results. On the other hand, the current Governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal has good relations with Suleiman and the Missiriya in general. The conflict has been between armed civilians and effectively a state army, making traditional and local mechanisms only limitedly effective.