The question of Higlig and the separation of southern Sudan

Category: Writing aboard the Kenya Airways: A story on coming to Rwanda for the first time
Published on Thursday, 30 September 2010 00:10
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Adiok Mayik
(Washington DC) - South Sudanese, will you leave Hielig behind in the name of maintaining peace with the North? Why? Then what will be the meaning of disunity with the North? Higlig is the land where the largest volume of Sudan’s oil reserve sits under. It is located on the periphery of the Unity State’s border with Southern Kordufan. That periphery is someone’s place; my homeland, and hence must not be used to buy the South from its enemy. The oil in Higlig will definitely make it difficult for the people of Panrieng County to find peace during or after referendum, be informed.


Currently, both the Government of Sudan and that of South Sudan are in process of heavy militarization of the area. Given the recent history of concession by South Sudan to buy peace with the North, I do think, out of fear, that Hielig and Panrieng are too expensive a price to pay for peace between the South and North. Will the South leave Hielig behind in concession for peace and separation?

The General Secretary of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, General Pagan Amum, was asked during a questioning session at the University of Maryland, Washington DC “will the South of Sudan be really peaceful if it disunites with the North of Sudan?” I was energized by the skillful style General Amum responded, “the South has never been peaceful within a United Sudan since 1955,” says Amum. From this point, I think disunity of the south of Sudan from its counterpart north, which is about to be effected on January 9th, is a new trial in search for a solution to a chronic political challenge endured by its people since its birth in 1956. However, the South of Sudan must not sell Hielig as an experiment to try disunity. This will be at the expense of the South Sudanese people (the people of Panrieng) living around Hielig. Sudan’s Government is disinterested in the people of South Sudan.

The North Sudanese will not risk their children’s lives to go to war with the South Sudanese who leave without the largest oil reserves. But the strategy of the North implies that whoever threatens their dollars in oil value and especially the one in Hielig will face music. The oil blocks and mainly Hielig’s are where the first official bullets will be fired. At a private meeting with South Sudanese youth in a local hotel in Washington DC of which I, the writer of this article, was in attendance, President Kiir seems to suggest that the North will have to attack first for us to defend ourselves. I think this is a serious miscalculation from the part of our President and the Government of South Sudan leadership. The Government of Sudan already occupies Hielig. Sudan Armed Forces left the South Sudanese Garrison Towns as the CPA mandated them to do so. However, most of the military personnel who evacuated the towns in South Sudan were moved to Hielig where the oil pipelines takes oil from the South. Hielig is where the North’s elites mastermind and execute their taking strategy.

It is vital for our leadership in the South Sudan to note that the Government of Sudan will not attack Southerners during or after referendum in votes for unity or disunity provided Hielig remains in the hands of their military and Chinese takers. Will the South leave Hielig behind? Then go where? Then eat what? Then drink the Nile water in the threats of Egypt? No lives without Hielig! Numerous calls by international think-tanks, scholars, political scientists, and cultural ecologists such as Rodger Winter, Eric Reeves, and high profile leaders like Hillary Clinton are being underestimated. There is nearly one hundred days left before the situation of Hielig, which is also my hometown of Panrieng, becomes a bond of contention between South and North of Sudan. My question has been and will continue to be, will the South Sudanese leave their oil behind in concession to compromise in dodging a seemingly threatening war?

Hillary Rodham Clinton, the United States Secretary of State, gives the situation in Sudan a name, “the ticking time bomb.” Does the South Sudanese know the bomb in Hillary Clinton’s mind will explode in Hielig unless the South concedes? At the current time, in the process of writing this article, President Kiir Mayardit, along with delegation involving Pagan Amum, the SPLM Secretary General, and Deng Alor, the current Minister of regional Cooperation is attending the United Nations conference on Sudan in New York. What is in President Kiir’s mind? Does he think Ban Ki Moon will mandate UNMISS (United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan) to defend South Sudan’s interest in regard to the Hielig oilfields? Do Kiir and his team think that America will put Marine boots on the ground in defense of South Sudan? I doubt. We are alone and we will be alone when all words run out. The South must not leave Hielig behind. The reasons for this argument are many.

First, Hielig holds more than 80% of the South’s oil. That means, South Sudan without Hielig is tantamount to South Sudan without oil. Hielig is the backbone of Sudan’s economy as it should continue to be the future backbone of South Sudan’s economy. Second, Hielig sits in my own village. It is part of the Dinka village. Failure to take it with the South when votes of the upcoming referendum point to disunity of Sudan will destroy many lives directly or indirectly. Hielig is currently occupied by the North’s based authorities and so South Sudan must not hang heads up thinking direct attack from the North is the only point of a potential aggression. Current progressive militarization of the oilfields in Hielig is pointing to the fact that the North will not let go of Hielig peacefully. Hielig is part of Unity State and must be taken back from the occupiers and defended with zeal and zest. Polls in the South in regard to the upcoming referendum are pointing to the fact that the South is seceding from the yoke of bondage we have been held by our Northern Masters since time immemorial. However, I call upon South Sudanese to leave nothing or none of their own behind. No hens, cows, goats, sheep, donkeys, and land including that of Hielig must be left behind in concession for anything. May peace of nature dwells on the upcoming referendum? Amen.

*The Author is a South Sudanese Civilian living in Washington, DC.

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