June 19 (Reuters) - Former civil war foes Sudan and South Sudan are expected
to resume security talks on June 21 after clashes in their contested
borderlands and rows over oil payments continue to stoke tensions.
Here is a look at the contentious border areas:
-- Abyei sits on the ill-defined border between Sudan and South Sudan and is
claimed by both countries. Its ownership was left undecided when South Sudan
split away as an independent nation last year. Abyei's residents were
promised a referendum on which country to join, but that vote has not
-- The region is a microcosm of all the conflicts that have split the region
for decades, an explosive mix of ethnic tension, ambiguous boundaries, oil
and age-old suspicion and resentment.
-- Abyei contains rich pastureland, water and, after a re-drawing of its
boundary, one significant oilfield - Defra, part of a block run by the
Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC), a consortium led by
-- Most of the permanent settlements are occupied by people from the Dinka
Ngok group, part of the South's largest tribe. For several months a year,
Abyei is also used by Arab Misseriya nomads - a well-armed group that
provided proxy militias for Khartoum during the north-south war.
-- The Misseriya fear they will lose crucial grazing rights if Abyei is
included in the South. Khartoum, keen to keep the nomads' support, has
insisted they be allowed to vote in any referendum on Abyei's future. South
Sudan, on the other hand, says only the permanent residents of Abyei -
largely the Dinka Ngok - should be allowed to vote.
-- About 3,800 Ethiopian U.N. peacekeepers are currently deployed in Abyei,
which is meant to be demilitarised with a civilian administration under a
U.N. peace plan.
-- South Sudan has already withdrawn its troops from Abyei but has kept 20
unarmed security personnel in the area.
-- Sudan said it had pulled its police forces from Abyei, removing a
possible obstacle to more peace talks.
-- Sudan had seized Abyei a year ago, triggering the exodus of thousands of
civilians, after an attack on a military convoy blamed by the United Nations
on southern forces.
-- South Sudan said on June 1 it had filed a complaint against Sudan at the
U.N. Security Council, asking it to impose sanctions on Khartoum over its
presence in Abyei. The two countries came close to war when a border dispute
in April saw the worst violence since the 2011 split.
* SOUTH KORDOFAN:
-- South Kordofan is inhabited by at least 2.5 million people with more than
100 ethnic communities; the majority population is represented by the
non-Arab Nuba, together with Misseriya and Hawazma Arabs.
-- South Kordofan lies on the Sudanese side of the border. But the
oil-producing state is also home to thousands of South-aligned fighters who
sided against Khartoum during the last civil war. Sudan's army has been
fighting rebels of the SPLM-North in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states,
forcing tens of thousands of civilians to flee to neighbouring South Sudan
-- Fighting erupted in the state in June 2011 and spread to nearby Blue Nile
in September. The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR has said 35,000 people arrived
in South Sudan from Blue Nile and more were on the way, joining about 70,000
refugees already living in crowded camps.
-- In April global powers widely condemned South Sudan's seizure of Heglig
oil field in South Kordofan, urging the two sides to stop fighting and
return to talks.
-- South Sudan said Heglig, which many from the South refer to as Panthou,
is its rightful territory, an assertion Khartoum hotly contests. Heglig
produced about half of Sudan's oil output of 115,000 barrels per day (bpd)
before the clashes. South Sudan withdrew in the face of international
pressure. Juba said it took Heglig only in self-defence after Sudan attacked
its territory from there.
-- South Sudan is negotiating to place Heglig in a demilitarised buffer zone
run by a joint administration.
* BLUE NILE:
-- Sudan's Blue Nile state is home to many supporters of the South's
dominant Sudan People's Liberation Movement.
-- Human Rights Watch said in a report in April that people in Blue Nile
state are continuing to endure indiscriminate bombing and other abuses.
Sudan denies the claims, which are difficult to verify independently because
of the remoteness of the region and because Sudan limits access for aid
groups and independent monitors. More than 100,000 people are refugees in
South Sudan and Ethiopia, and another 100,000 are still displaced in Blue
Nile, including groups of potentially several thousand who are stranded in
-- Under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the deal which ended
decades of civil war and, eventually, allowed South Sudan to secede,
residents of South Kordofan and Blue Nile were offered "popular
consultations" to determine their relationship to Khartoum. They have not
Sources: Reuters/UNHCR/www.insightonconflict.org/AllAfrica/HRW (Reporting by
David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit) (Editing by Louise Ireland)
Sudan protesters scuffle with police for third day -witness
Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:51am GMT
* Anger building over rising prices
* Sudan has avoided an "Arab Spring"
* South Sudan independence stoked economic crisis
KHARTOUM, June 19 (Reuters) - Scores of protesters scuffled with police in
the Sudanese capital for a third day on Tuesday, a witness said, extending
demonstrations against government austerity plans to cope with an economic
Sudan has faced a budget gap, a depreciating currency and high inflation
since South Sudan split away a year ago, taking with it three quarters of
the country's oil production - previously the main source of exports and
While the Arab-African country has avoided the sort of "Arab Spring" unrest
that toppled leaders in neighbouring Egypt and Libya, small demonstrations
have broken out over food prices and other issues in recent months.
On Tuesday, more than 100 demonstrators blocked a street in Khartoum and
scuffled with police while chanting "no, no to inflation" and "the people
want to overthrow the regime," the witness said.
As on the previous two days of demonstrations, police used batons and tear
gas to disperse the crowd, the witness added, requesting anonymity because
of the sensitivity of the issue.
The police were not immediately available to comment. On Monday the police
said in a statement there had been "limited" clashes with students during
which several people were detained, and accused the demonstrators of trying
to spark riots.
Activists said small protests had also broken out at two university campuses
on Tuesday, but the claim was not immediately possible to verify
The protests have come partly in response to President Omar Hassan
al-Bashir's unveiling of tough austerity measures on Monday to plug a budget
deficit which the finance minister put at $2.4 billion.
One of the most contentious issues is a plan to gradually end fuel
subsidies, a move many Sudanese fear will stoke even higher inflation. It
hit 30 percent in May.
Previous student protests in Khartoum and university cities failed to gain
broader momentum. Opposition politicians said last week they planned to
stage protests against the removal of fuel subsidies.
Sudan had been supposed to keep collecting some revenues from the roughly
350,000 barrels of oil per day of output which the south inherited on
secession, under an agreement whereby the landlocked south would pay to use
pipelines and other facilities in the north.
But the two have failed to agree on fees, and the dispute climaxed when Juba
shut down its entire output in January to stop Khartoum from confiscating
The economic fallout has piled hardships on people already exhausted by
years of conflict, U.S. trade sanctions and economic mismanagement.
(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; writing by Alexander Dziadosz; editing by
C Thomson Reuters 2012 All rights reserved
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Received on Tue Jun 19 2012 - 17:16:21 EDT