Millions of cattle at risk in Sudan

2013-02-07 17:37
A herdsman from the Nuer tribe stands among his cattle. (Tony Karumba, AFP)

A herdsman from the Nuer tribe stands among his cattle. (Tony Karumba, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Khartoum - Millions of migrating cows are at risk of death on the Sudan-South Sudan border, nomads said on Thursday, because the frontier has not opened as agreed by the two nations several months ago.

The cattle have fallen victim to the inability of Sudan and South Sudan to implement key security and economic agreements which their presidents signed in September.

The pacts called for a reopening of border points, as part of peace efforts following a March-April war on the un-demarcated frontier.

"We want to cross the river with our animals but South Sudan has closed the area," Mahmoud Gibril, a local leader from the nomadic Rezeigat tribe, told AFP.

He said two million cows, their herders and families have been stuck north of the Bahr al-Arab River since mid-December, waiting to go south on their annual migration.

"These cows are suffering from a lack of grass and water," Gibril said.

Late in December, the Rezeigat and "armed groups" from South Sudan clashed around the river at Samaha, according to the Sudanese military.

The area, which Sudan considers part of East Darfur state, is disputed by the two countries.

Gibril said South Sudanese security forces have a compound along the waterway "and they don't allow anyone to come near."

Shut tight

The blockade has concentrated the nomads and their animals in a small area, where there is no Sudanese military or police presence, he added.

"If this continues until the beginning of April most of these animals will die," Gibril said.

A foreign diplomat told AFP that the borders have never been as tightly shut as this year.

"I am worried at the moment about developments on the ground," said the diplomat, asking for anonymity.

Another Rezeigat cattle herder, Idam Abubakr, told AFP that the nomads depend on water from the Bahr al-Arab but South Sudan had "occupied" Samaha which prevented passage.

"Two weeks ago, 90 cows went to the river and were taken by South Sudan's army," Abubakr said.

To avoid clashing with South Sudan the nomads and their animals face a double jeopardy, he said: Either go back north where there is no water, or remain in their current position where they have grass to eat but nothing to drink.

"If they stay in this area until the end of March and the problem is not solved, they will lose their animals," Abubakr said.

The September agreements, along with opening the borders for trade and passage, allowed for a demilitarised buffer zone along the frontier and a resumption of South Sudanese oil exports through northern pipelines.

Khartoum's accusation that South Sudan, which separated in 2011, supports rebels north of the border has been a major obstacle to implementing the deals.

Read more on:    sudan  |  south sudan  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.