> Sudan: Resolve Abyei Conflict, South Sudanese
Youth Tell Gov't
Julius N. Uma and Ngor Arol Garang
27 November 2011
Aweil/Juba - The youth sector of South Sudan's ruling party in Greater Bahr
el Ghazal has urged the government to resolve the dispute between Juba and
Khartoum over the contested territory of Abyei, which they say is
threatening the security of neighbouring regions.
The call for the issue to be addressed at the first Bahr el Ghazal Youth
Conference which opened on Thursday in Aweil, the capital of Northern Bahr
el Ghazal state. The four day meeting has called for the consolidation of
peace and unity in South Sudan amid growing concerns of numerous challenges
faced by the young country's youth, less than five months after the country
attained independence in as part of a 2005 peace deal.
As part of the agreement, residents of Abyei were due to vote on whether to
remain in north Sudan - where the fertile, oil-producing region was placed
by the British over 100 years ago - or to become part of an independent
Unlike South Sudan's referendum, which went ahead on time, Abyei's
plebiscite did not go ahead, as the two sides could not agree on who could
vote. In May north Sudan's army forcibly took control of the region and have
yet to pull out despite the arrival of an Ethiopian UN peacekeeping mission.
Fighting in Abyei has caused thousands to be displaced into the surrounding
states of Lakes, Warrap and Northern and Western Bahr el Ghazal.
The African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) has lauded the
recent resumption in the post-independence negotiations between the Republic
of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan.
The talks, which initially hit a deadlock, resumed in Addis Ababa, the
Ethiopian capital on 21 November. The two countries are yet to agree on
border issues, including the principles and demarcation of the north-south
border. Other issues being discussed are the transitional financial
arrangements, oil, trade issues, assets and liabilities.
"In line with its mandate, the panel is committed to working with the two
states to facilitate agreement on all outstanding issues in order realize
the aspiration of the two viable Sudanese states at peace with each other,"
the AUHIP said in a 25 November statement.
Speaking during the four day Greater Bahr el Ghazal youth convention, Jong
Anthony Deng, the Warrap state coordinator decried the high insecurity
levels in South Sudan and warned young people against being manipulated by
"Let us not forget that we are at war with one another because we are
politically manipulated and therefore do not want to oppose any wrong doing
in our communities. It's time for the youth to unite together for a common
agenda," Deng told delegates in Aweil.
Since independence numerous rebellions in South Sudan have blighted the new
nation, which is struggling to recover after decades of war and
Deng further cited unemployment, socio-political issues and tribalism as
some of the major setbacks facing South Sudanese youth who, according to the
2008 housing and population census, accounted for nearly 70 percent of the
Thon Manyuon Konybaay, a Lakes state representative also re-echoed similar
challenges, but appealed to the over 150 youth gathered for the four-day
convention to us it as a platform for devising remedies to their problems.
UNITY & DEVELOPMENT
The conference covered a wide range of themes, seeking to enhance
participation of youth in promoting good governance and identify the
challenges facing them in four states. The forum will also put forward
recommendations on how to address security issues, unemployment, education,
youth leadership and conflict.
Speaking to Sudan Tribune on the third day of the conference, Ariec Mayar
Ariec, a member of the Warrap State Legislative Assembly and a delegate at
the conference, said that youth had a key role in development.
"The challenges of South Sudan youths are many. It is no longer news today
that most people involved in criminal activities fall in the youth age
bracket", Ariec explained. Cattle raiding and banditry and are common in
Ariec said unemployment, South Sudan's poor education system, and lack of
parental guidance as major challenges for young people in the world's newest
The conference discussed ways to get more young people involved in civil
society and best to communicate to them. Ariec said that young people needed
"experts from different sectors to enlighten us about our social, legal,
business and many other areas." The youth association planned to raise funds
so they could provide their members with training "on how to use the
internet on both in English and Arabic", he added.
The Warrap state MP said that cultural preservation was an important aspect
in national development as it helps young people understand, respect and
value their cultures.
"The different ethnic groups in South Sudan have rich cultural heritages,
which if utilised will help to instill behavioural change in our young
He said he hopes the conference would extend cooperation aiming at work
together with other existing groups so as to build trust and consolidate
peace across South Sudan.
However, the talk of unity at the conference was undermined by youth leaders
who said that they had not been consulted over the meeting, complaining that
representatives had been selected from the capital Juba and not from the
Kuol Wieu Kuol, the chairperson of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement
Youth League, (SPLM-YL) in Warrap State, told Sudan Tribune on Saturday that
his and other youth groups had not been consulted.
"It would have been good idea if the objectives were made known to all the
other groups. If indeed the intention was meant to bring youth together and
to cherish each other, the objectives and criteria of selections would have
been made known to all. Some youth, especially those coming from Warrap
State, were selected from Juba directly attended the conference without the
knowledge of other group", he said,
Manyiel Dut Kok, chairperson of the SPLM Youth League in Lakes State also
argued that the organisers of the conference should have shared the plans
and objectives about conference with all the region's youth groups.
Kok said those attending the conference from Lakes state were taken from
Juba directly to the venue of the conference without consultation with
official youth representatives, who live in the area.
"We have 12 people attending from Lakes State. They were taken from Juba
without my knowledge", he said explaining that resolution of the conference
would not be binding on youth leadership in the state.
Dhaya Abelrahaman Dhaya, a member of the SPLM Youth League in Western Bahr
el Ghazal State added that he supports unity among youth group but opposed
the way the conference was organised.
"I agree that we should work together in sensitising and encouraging youths
to promote peace and unity but I do not agree with the way this conference
"Normally, the official procedure was that all the groups should have been
consulted. If the intention of this conference was to bring youth together,
the SPLM youth league should have been consulted prior to commencement of
the conference so that we discuss with them objectives and expected
recommendation with the SPLM Secretariat in the state and the ministry of
social welfare and development", he said.
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Received on Sun Nov 27 2011 - 14:58:52 EST