There is so much I hear about “oil rich Abyei” these days being quoted all over the world, but where are these oil fields located in Abyei territory as awarded by the International Court of Arbitration (ICA)?
I think there is some confusion going on between the territory described by the Abyei Border Commission (ABC) as belonging to the 9 Dinka Chieftains of the Ngok Dinka and the actual territory that has been administered from Kordofan.
Correct me if I am wrong; but it would appear that the ABC allocation of the land that belongs to the 9 Ngok Dinka Chieftains included the oil fields that are located in the Unity (Western Upper) State because the people there may be described as belonging to one of the 9 Ngok Chieftains or kith and kin; but they were never part of the territory administered by the North.
And when the ICA redrew the ABC’s map and excluded the territory containing known oil fields, the North jumped to the conclusion that the oil wells belonged to them, only to find out that these oil wells were never in the Abyei territory in the first place but in the Western Upper Nile (Unity) State; and therein lies the confusion.
The question is: Could it be that there was duplicity or fear on the part of the GoSS not to question in the first place the ABC’s inclusion of the oil wells clearly in the Unity State into Abyei territory? Could it have been, to put it mildly, a devious assumption that since Abyei was going to be part of Warrap State anyway after their referendum it wouldn’t matter if the ABC had overstepped their map and awarded a bit of oil territory in the Unity State to Abyei? Only GoSS or people who were part of the GoSS at the time the ABC handed over their report can answer that.
Well, apart from those oil fields that have been ruled out by the ICA as not belonging to Abyei, where else is the oil we keep hearing about “oil-rich Abyei” the media keep talking about? Do they know something we don’t know? Is it somewhere underground in Abyei territory but is not openly declared?