1 February 2013

Sudan: Rizeigat - Potential Conflict At Sudan Border Over Grazing Rights

Khartoum — The shura (head) of the Rizeigat tribe in East Darfur has warned that the slow pace in resolving the matter of grazing rights at the Samaha area, at the border between Sudan and South Sudan, may lead to renewed conflict in the region.

Mohamed Al-Daif Issa Aliu revealed in an interview with Radio Dabanga on Friday from Khartoum that more than three million cattle are in risk of dying of dehydration due to closure of the border between Sudan and South Sudan.

He said Rizeigat herders are "at the mercy of the government of [South Sudan's] North Bahr El-Ghazal" who could allow them to move their cattle further south for pasture and water.

Aliu said the southern army, SPLA, is currently at the border preventing the passage of herders to the south.

He believes the solution for this impasse lies on the withdrawal of the SPLA from Mile 14, the disputed border area with Sudan, and on the implementation of the cooperation agreement signed last September by both countries.

The head of the Rizeigat tribe blames Khartoum for not preparing alternative grazing lands in the north. He explained herders used to spend more than seven months a year in the south before the separation of the Sudans.

"We have warned about the grazing danger before the separation, but the government did not respond," Aliu said.

He pointed out that the civil administration in the north and sultans in the south are unable to settle the situation in the region as a result of political interference and of the independence of the south.

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