chapter  2
8 Pages

Overview of the problem, 1999

Chief Deng Abot, one of the two deputy Paramount Chiefs of the Ngok Dinka, once said of the Ngok Dinka area at the North-South border that it is like an eye, which is so small but sees so much. Deng Abot’s perspective has now come into full bloom as the North-dominated government in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, and the southern-based Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A) argue over whether Abyei is part of the South or the North. To appreciate the complexities of the issues involved, it is necessary to understand how the Ngok Dinka came to be at the borderline between North and South, the anomalies of their administrative position under the Condominium Anglo-Egyptian rule, the postcolonial developments that have turned their region from a North-South bridge to a point of confrontation, and the challenge Abyei poses for the peace process and the future of the nation.