chapter  14
21 Pages

An Amendment Proposal for an Integrated Rural Development Project for Abyei

WithMOHAMMAD AL HASAN MUKHTAR AND ABDALLA BABKIR,

The concerned area is the southwest corner of Southern Kordofan Province, comprising Abyei People’s Rural Council and some adjacent parts added for planning necessities. Generally it can be loosely demarcated by latitude 10° 15 N and longitude 29° 15 N and the southern and western province boundaries. Although the area is known to be the habitat of the Dinka, of the Ngok

branch, it is subject to a continual in and out movement of nomads who use the Bahr al Arab grazing and the nearby “regeba” (water course), mainly in the dry season, as water is available there. In addition to the movement of the nomadic pastoralists, two other seasonal migrations exist, but with different causes. One takes place at the beginning of the rainy season when many Dinka move as agricultural laborers to the Goz area in the north. The second takes place just after the end of the rainy season, when a number ofDinka leave the area to seek various jobs in villages and towns throughout the country. However, almost all the Dinka who leave return to their homeland either before or after the rainy season. Accordingly, arriving at an accurate population figure for the area is difficult

in the present situation; the figures available are those of the 1973 census and the sample census of the population within the livestock survey of Kordofan Province carried out by the Resources Management and Development Coorporation. The Rural Council estimates give a figure of around 80,000 settled population and an equivalent number of nomads in the dry season (HIID report). The railway line passes through the western fringes of the area, but a vast,

difficult, and unsettled area separates it from the settled part. Other than this, road transport is the only available means. The main roads are AbyeiMuglad-Babanusa, and Abyei-Kadugli, which branches a short distance from Abyei to Lagawa. Both roads are seasonal, but that to Muglad can be used a little earlier than the others, by about two to three weeks. It also closes later than the others by about the same period. There is no air transport at present, but a temporary airstrip for small air-

craft or military helicopters does exist. Radio-telephone communications facilities exist only within the military or police quarters.