Sudan: Heglig Has Not and Will Never Be Part of South Kordofan
By Dhieu Mathok Diing Wol, 10 April 2012
With exclusive access, Al Jazeera investigates a hidden war in the remote
state of Southern Kordofan in Sudan. ( Resource:
> Inside Sudan
- Southern Kordofan: Unfinished Business
The Heglig village locally known as Panthou of Panarou Dinka of Panrang
county in Unity State has not been a part of South Kordofan as alleged by
the Khartoum government.
The processes of annexing the area to the North have intensified recently
during the Ingaz regime (The Salvation). It came to surfacing clearly for
the first time in 1997 when Omer al Bashir the President of the Sudan
registered an official visit to Heglig for the opening of the Oilfields.
The state government in Western Kordofan (before the state was abolished and
annexed to South Kordofan after the signing of CPA in 2005) organized an
opening ceremony of the oilfields and the visit of the president in the area
to officially opening of the oilfields on the ground that Heglig is a part
of the former Western Kordofan State. The state government led by Lit. Gen.
Police Abdelrahaman Muktar ordered commissioner of the Peace province that
includes Abyei, al Miaram and Muglid to transport Dinka Ngok citizens
residing at Abyei and surrounding areas to the place of the ceremony at
Heglig in order to welcome the president and participate in the occasion
under cover that the area is a part of Abyei and hence perceived to be owned
by the Dinka Ngok.
This strategy was not known to the state government in Unity state. The
recently appointed Ambassador Micheal Mayiel Choul who was the Wali
(Governor) of the state by then was not aware about this conspiracy. When
the Governor of Unity State arrived at the place of the ceremony with his
cabinet members, he found the place and the occasion were totally hijacked
by the Western Kordofan government and the populace from Abyei area. They
were welcomed as guests from the neighboring state. He was denied a speech
in the opening ceremony, and Abdelrahaman Muktar was accorded the welcoming
remarks as the host state and to welcome as well the president to deliver
his speech and officially opened the project.
Upon receiving the copy of the programme, Mr. Micheal Mayiel reacted
immediately and objected to the programme. The two governors exchanged
insulting words in front of the president on the entitlement of who supposed
to give the speech in this important occasion and the ownership of the area.
The president stepped in and asked the two governors to present their
speeches as the area belongs to all Sudanese people, according to his
assertion. The oilfields were officially opened on the assumption that the
area is a part of Western Kordofan NOT SOUTH KORDOFAN.
In 1999 when the first oil produced in the Sudan was shipped to
international market at Bashair port in Port Sudan, again the chance was
given to the oil-producing states; the two governors of the Western Kordofan
and Unity State were asked to clamp into podium and present their speeches.
Subsequently, the conspiracy of annexing Heglig to the North becomes clearer
during the annual presentation of the state government reports to the
National Council of Ministers. The Council witnessed a serious debate over
the issue between the Northerners and Southerners, who were members when the
two governors of Unity State and Western Kordofan gave their reports about
the situation in Heglig differently. The cabinet members from Southern Sudan
who were attending the meeting took stance and supported the Governor Dr.
Joseph Monytuil, the current MP and former Minister of Health and the
The situation becomes complicated when the CPA was signed, and the Abyei
Boundary Commission (ABC) was formed. The ABC was mandated to draw Abyei
boundaries. The experts made the mistake by including Heglig and other areas
in western part of the area to Abyei territories. Maybe the assumption was
that since there was confusion surrounding status of Heglig it could be best
solved within the ABC mechanism.
It was on this line the Court of Arbitration in The Hague came out and
dismissed the claimed that Heglig is part of Abyei. The judges indicated
what supposed to be the Abyei boundaries and left out what they believed not
to be geographically part of that area.
The NCP intentionally misinterpreted the ruling, exploited it and claimed
that the ruling was a justification of their assertion that the Court had
confirmed their claim over Heglig, since the ruling was silenced about it,
without knowing that Heglig was purposely left out as it has nothing to do
with the ABC report. One can see this in the way how the NCP has been
dealing with the ruling of the Court; appreciating part of the ruling and
condemning part of it.
The information that the area was literally claimed to be part of Western
Kodofan and NOT SOUTH KORDOFAN is very significant to the readers to see the
degree of confusion and weak position on the side of the invaders of Heglig
area. It is important because it will enable us relating geopolitics of the
area to the historical events, because South Kordofan, which is bordering
Panrang County was supposed to be the one claiming the ownership of Heglig
from that very time and not Western Kordofan and the clashes on who supposed
to speak in the opening ceremony of the oilfields were expected to be
between Mr. Micheal Mayiel Choul the governor of Unity State and the late
MagizubYusuf Babaker the governor of South Kordofan and NOT between Micheal
and Muktar. However, because the conspiracy was designed to make the area, a
part of the disputed Abyei, this scenario could take that form.
Dr. Dhieu Mathok is a former minister in the Sudan and author of Politics of
Ethnic Discrimination in Sudan: A Justification for the Secession of South
Sudan. He can be reached at aromjok_at_yahoo.com.
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> Press Release On
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Received on Tue Apr 10 2012 - 17:25:33 EDT