The non-binding referendum in Abyei – where people voted overwhelmingly to join South Sudan – and the ensuing celebration, has brought little immediate resolution to the long-festering Abyei problem.
When Chris Bak returned two weeks ago to the disputed border town of Abyei, which voted this week on whether to join Sudan or South Sudan, he barely recognised it as the place where he grew up. “Everything is dirty,” he told IPS. “We were just going around and around, but we didn’t [recognise] this place.”
Pressure from ethnic groups along the border, security concerns, and keen interest in resources like oil and land are making it difficult for Sudan and South Sudan – the world’s newest country - to resolve their dispute over the fertile, oil-rich region of Abyei and demarcate their common border. Speaking in Turkey on Monday, Sudan’s first vice president, Ali Osman Taha, called for a referendum to resolve the issue.