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In Pictures: Return to Abyei
Oil-rich region holds disputed referendum to decide whether to join Sudan or South Sudan.
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2013 13:16
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Abyei, Sudan - The Ngok Dinka tribe is holding a controversial referendum on whether their oil-rich Abyei area should join South Sudan.

The quarrel over Abyei is one of the main unresolved disputes after the 2005 peace agreement between Sudan and South Sudan, which ended a bloody civil war and led to the independence of South Sudan.  

Both the Sudan and South Sudan governments, along with the African Union that is playing a mediation role, do not recognise the referendum.

About 100,000 Ngok Dinka returned to Abyei for the referendum, which will be conducted over a three-day period with results announced on Thursday.

The region's majority Ngok Dinka people are believed to be in favour of joining South Sudan. The Sudan-allied Misseriya nomads, who come to Abyei to find pasture for their cattle, will not be allowed to participate in the referendum and have warned it cannot take place.

Clashes between both ethnic groups have occurred sporadically and flared dramatically in 2008 with hundreds of casualties.

There are concerns the referendum could stoke more violence.



/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

Women and children sing and chant for Abyei independence from Sudan in the town of Agok, in South Sudan. Tens of thousands are now returning to the region in order to participate in a controversial referendum.



/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin
Returnees from Juba walk the road from Agok to their birthplace of Abyei. Tens of thousands are slowly returning to Abyei, some from as far as Australia and America, with the hopes of making their voice heard in an upcoming referendum.


/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

Betty Phillip, 44: "I travelled eight days to be here. I've even slept on the side of the road because the road was too bad to get from Agok to Abyei town. The land is ours, even if they are going to kill us, we will not go. That is why we have come back. To show the world Abyei is ours."



/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

Most of Abyei's infrastructure was destroyed when Sudanese Armed Forces attacked and seized the district in 2008 and again in 2011.



/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

Achan Ayuel, 31, is from Abyei but is staying in Kuajok, South Sudan. She's now returned. "I came for the referendum to vote to make the final decision and stop the fighting. We want peace through this referendum."



/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin
Men cast fishing nets alongside the bridge that crosses into Abyei. The bridge was blown up in May 2011 when Sudanese Forces attacked Abyei, but the bridge has since been rebuilt by the UN peace keeping force, UNISFA.


/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

A peacekeeper walks past returnees who have settled at a UN-supported camp. Thousands of returnees are making their way back to Abyei in order take part in an upcoming unilateral referendum.



/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

With little infrastructure left, most returnees must take shelter wherever they can find it.



/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

Michael Manutwe, 24: "People should know Abyei is South Sudan not Sudan. That is why there is the referendum. This has been going on for too long. The Miseriya are now our enemies."



/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin
Recent returnees stand in the doorway of a destroyed building at a UN-supported camp.


/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

Akuach Athuai, 42: "We need the referendum to be free. We are not free now. We are between the two countries of South Sudan and Sudan. So they want to take the referendum to be in one country as now we are both."



/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

A man walks through the rubble of Abyei's church. Like much of Abyei town, the church was destroyed when Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) took the area in May 2011.



/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

The entrance to what once was Abyei town's Ministry of Agriculture.



/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

UNISFA peace-keeping unit patrol drives past the wreckage of Abyei's mosque. It was destroyed by local residents in May after Abyei's Paramount Chief Kuol Deng Kuol was assassinated.




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images:
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captions:

Women and children sing and chant for Abyei independence from Sudan in the town of Agok, in South Sudan. Tens of thousands are now returning to the region in order to participate in a controversial referendum.

;*;Returnees from Juba walk the road from Agok to their birthplace of Abyei. Tens of thousands are slowly returning to Abyei, some from as far as Australia and America, with the hopes of making their voice heard in an upcoming referendum.;*;

Betty Phillip, 44: "I travelled eight days to be here. I(***)ve even slept on the side of the road because the road was too bad to get from Agok to Abyei town. The land is ours, even if they are going to kill us, we will not go. That is why we have come back. To show the world Abyei is ours."

;*;

Most of Abyei(***)s infrastructure was destroyed when Sudanese Armed Forces attacked and seized the district in 2008 and again in 2011.

;*;

Achan Ayuel, 31, is from Abyei but is staying in Kuajok, South Sudan. She(***)s now returned. "I came for the referendum to vote to make the final decision and stop the fighting. We want peace through this referendum."

;*; Men cast fishing nets alongside the bridge that crosses into Abyei. The bridge was blown up in May 2011 when Sudanese Forces attacked Abyei, but the bridge has since been rebuilt by the UN peace keeping force, UNISFA.;*;

A peacekeeper walks past returnees who have settled at a UN-supported camp. Thousands of returnees are making their way back to Abyei in order take part in an upcoming unilateral referendum.

;*;

With little infrastructure left, most returnees must take shelter wherever they can find it.

;*;

Michael Manutwe, 24: "People should know Abyei is South Sudan not Sudan. That is why there is the referendum. This has been going on for too long. The Miseriya are now our enemies."

;*;Recent returnees stand in the doorway of a destroyed building at a UN-supported camp.;*;

Akuach Athuai, 42: "We need the referendum to be free. We are not free now. We are between the two countries of South Sudan and Sudan. So they want to take the referendum to be in one country as now we are both."

;*;

A man walks through the rubble of Abyei(***)s church. Like much of Abyei town, the church was destroyed when Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) took the area in May 2011.

;*;

The entrance to what once was Abyei town(***)s Ministry of Agriculture.

;*;

UNISFA peace-keeping unit patrol drives past the wreckage of Abyei(***)s mosque. It was destroyed by local residents in May after Abyei(***)s Paramount Chief Kuol Deng Kuol was assassinated.

Daylife ID:
4207ce7f0b9bed47680177603e1ebbaa
Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin;*;Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin;*;Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin;*;Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin;*;Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin;*;Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin;*;Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin;*;Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin;*;Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin;*;Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin;*;Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin;*;Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin;*;Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin;*;Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Return to Abyeihttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyeien-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Tue, 22 Oct 2013 10:25:39 GMT http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/6c551039e3d56c0b557a59bc6a21b57e

Women and children sing and chant for Abyei independence in the town of Agok, South Sudan. Tens of thousands are now returning to the region in order to participate in a controversial unilateral referendum on Abyei's independence from Sudan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/6c551039e3d56c0b557a59bc6a21b57eMackenzie Knowles-Coursin

Women and children sing and chant for Abyei independence in the town of Agok, South Sudan. Tens of thousands are now returning to the region in order to participate in a controversial unilateral referendum on Abyei's independence from Sudan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/dcd6dde279d92cdb9e3a2a171e149b2e

Most of the town's infrastructure was destroyed when Sudanese Armed Forces attacked and seized the town in 2008 and again in 2011.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/dcd6dde279d92cdb9e3a2a171e149b2eMackenzie Knowles-Coursin

Most of the town's infrastructure was destroyed when Sudanese Armed Forces attacked and seized the town in 2008 and again in 2011.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/95f09097a7458c0f9e39108c471b39b6

UNISFA peacekeeper walks past returnees who have settled at a UN-supported camp in Abyei town, Abyei. Thousands of returnees are slowly making their way back to Abyei town in order take part in an upcoming unilateral referendum.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/95f09097a7458c0f9e39108c471b39b6Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

UNISFA peacekeeper walks past returnees who have settled at a UN-supported camp in Abyei town, Abyei. Thousands of returnees are slowly making their way back to Abyei town in order take part in an upcoming unilateral referendum.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/ef1b01ce34abd77f045f6b52c9e441acAchan Ayuel, 31, has four boys and two girls. She is from Abyei but was staying in Kuajok, Warrap State, South Sudan. She's now returned to Abyei town and is staying in a UNDP camp for returnees. "Abyei is my home town. I left in 2011, after the attacks in May, when the area was invaded by Sudan Armed Forces. I came for the referendum to vote to make the final decision and stop the fighting. We want peace through this referendum. But now in this camp we live in tents and have not much food. They can not come back. Some come still, stealing cattle, they rape the women when they are collecting fire wood. That is what they do. After the referendum it will be quiet. We will be free."http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/ef1b01ce34abd77f045f6b52c9e441acMackenzie Knowles-Coursin Achan Ayuel, 31, has four boys and two girls. She is from Abyei but was staying in Kuajok, Warrap State, South Sudan. She's now returned to Abyei town and is staying in a UNDP camp for returnees. "Abyei is my home town. I left in 2011, after the attacks in May, when the area was invaded by Sudan Armed Forces. I came for the referendum to vote to make the final decision and stop the fighting. We want peace through this referendum. But now in this camp we live in tents and have not much food. They can not come back. Some come still, stealing cattle, they rape the women when they are collecting fire wood. That is what they do. After the referendum it will be quiet. We will be free." http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/e0cf2124b66d5acb80df770aab00cbb3

With little infrastructure left in town, most returnees must take shelter wherever they can find it.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/e0cf2124b66d5acb80df770aab00cbb3Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

With little infrastructure left in town, most returnees must take shelter wherever they can find it.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/de8795151ac0e10f1bd7cb864359b2b3

Michael Manutwe, 24. Michael has been living in Kuajock, Warrap State, South Sudan, but is now back in Abyei town at a UNDP camp for returnees. "??I came back for the purpose of referendum. I hope to vote to stop the killing and fighting the Miseriya. My three older brothers were shot in 2011 May. If we vote that will be a reward for those that we lost. We will be happy. This is our life. People should know Abyei is South Sudan not Sudan. That is why there is the referendum. This has been going on for too long. The Miseriya are now our enemies. They are animals. They take our cattle. They kill our people. They take everything from the town. So we don'??t like them being together. They came and burned our houses. They killed our people, they are a problem for us. Before they killed the paramount chief, they killed in the east and south Abyei, they took the cattle, and killed us in May."

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/de8795151ac0e10f1bd7cb864359b2b3Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

Michael Manutwe, 24. Michael has been living in Kuajock, Warrap State, South Sudan, but is now back in Abyei town at a UNDP camp for returnees. "??I came back for the purpose of referendum. I hope to vote to stop the killing and fighting the Miseriya. My three older brothers were shot in 2011 May. If we vote that will be a reward for those that we lost. We will be happy. This is our life. People should know Abyei is South Sudan not Sudan. That is why there is the referendum. This has been going on for too long. The Miseriya are now our enemies. They are animals. They take our cattle. They kill our people. They take everything from the town. So we don'??t like them being together. They came and burned our houses. They killed our people, they are a problem for us. Before they killed the paramount chief, they killed in the east and south Abyei, they took the cattle, and killed us in May."

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/fbd876240f4cf887670b022eef8a28ea

Recent returnees stand in the doorway of a destroyed building at a UN-supported camp.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/fbd876240f4cf887670b022eef8a28eaMackenzie Knowles-Coursin

Recent returnees stand in the doorway of a destroyed building at a UN-supported camp.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/a132beba2711eabe816a534319e1c957

Akuach Athuai, 42, has 10 kids and four grandchildren. She was staying in Kuajok, Warrap State, South Sudan, but is now in Abyei town at a UNDP camp for returnees. "We came here for the purpose of peace. We want a referendum so the area will be safe. We want to be separated between Dinka and Miseriya. But no I don'??t think they should come back, they a??re different people, they say they come from grazing here but they are killing us, there is no peace with them here. We need the referendum to be free. We are not free now. We are between the two countries of South Sudan and Sudan. So they want to take the referendum to be in one country as now we are both."

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/a132beba2711eabe816a534319e1c957Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

Akuach Athuai, 42, has 10 kids and four grandchildren. She was staying in Kuajok, Warrap State, South Sudan, but is now in Abyei town at a UNDP camp for returnees. "We came here for the purpose of peace. We want a referendum so the area will be safe. We want to be separated between Dinka and Miseriya. But no I don'??t think they should come back, they a??re different people, they say they come from grazing here but they are killing us, there is no peace with them here. We need the referendum to be free. We are not free now. We are between the two countries of South Sudan and Sudan. So they want to take the referendum to be in one country as now we are both."

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/b0eedf51916d84d4dfe66e7e587d67fd

Returnees from Juba walk the road from Agok to their birthplace of Abyei. Tens of thousands are slowly returning to Abyei, some from as far as Australia and America, with the hopes of making their voice heard in an upcoming referendum.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/b0eedf51916d84d4dfe66e7e587d67fdMackenzie Knowles-Coursin

Returnees from Juba walk the road from Agok to their birthplace of Abyei. Tens of thousands are slowly returning to Abyei, some from as far as Australia and America, with the hopes of making their voice heard in an upcoming referendum.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/6f2f971daa3e78f974103ce6334e41b6

Betty Phillip, 44, has been living in Juba and Nigeria as a diplomat but has now returned to Abyei town. "??I married into Abyei and that i??s why I am here now. I have five kids, one who is a doctor now I want them to see Abyei and for them not to be afraid to come here. People can no??t live like this. There is nothing here, just shacks. They live like slaves. I travelled eight days to be here. I've even slept on the side of the road because the road was too bad to get from Agok to Abyei town. The land is ours, even if they are going to kill us, we will not go. That is why we have come back. To show the world Abyei is ours."

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/6f2f971daa3e78f974103ce6334e41b6Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

Betty Phillip, 44, has been living in Juba and Nigeria as a diplomat but has now returned to Abyei town. "??I married into Abyei and that i??s why I am here now. I have five kids, one who is a doctor now I want them to see Abyei and for them not to be afraid to come here. People can no??t live like this. There is nothing here, just shacks. They live like slaves. I travelled eight days to be here. I've even slept on the side of the road because the road was too bad to get from Agok to Abyei town. The land is ours, even if they are going to kill us, we will not go. That is why we have come back. To show the world Abyei is ours."

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/8ebfdb9fd479a44c1542cfd21d99fd29

Men cast fishing nets alongside the bridge that crosses into Abyei. The bridge was blown up in May 2011 when Sudanese Forces attacked Abyei, but the bridge has since been rebuilt by the UN peace keeping force, UNISFA.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/8ebfdb9fd479a44c1542cfd21d99fd29Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

Men cast fishing nets alongside the bridge that crosses into Abyei. The bridge was blown up in May 2011 when Sudanese Forces attacked Abyei, but the bridge has since been rebuilt by the UN peace keeping force, UNISFA.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/64751d69a7a7bc5f6abfe2cf2d4aeada

A man walks through the rubble of Abyei's church. Like much of Abyei town, the church was destroyed when Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) seized Abyei town in May 2011.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/64751d69a7a7bc5f6abfe2cf2d4aeadaMackenzie Knowles-Coursin

A man walks through the rubble of Abyei's church. Like much of Abyei town, the church was destroyed when Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) seized Abyei town in May 2011.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/0821b8ae120789f1e6efb79ef140263d

The entrance to what once was Abyei town's Ministry of Agriculture.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/0821b8ae120789f1e6efb79ef140263dMackenzie Knowles-Coursin

The entrance to what once was Abyei town's Ministry of Agriculture.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/7973e188f34c40d18f791536ef12e435

UNISFA peace keeping unit patrol driving past the wreckage of Abyei town's mosque. The mosque was destroyed by local residents this past May after Abyei'??s Paramount Chief Kuol Deng Kuol was assassinated.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Return_to_Abyei/slideshow/no-caption/7973e188f34c40d18f791536ef12e435Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin

UNISFA peace keeping unit patrol driving past the wreckage of Abyei town's mosque. The mosque was destroyed by local residents this past May after Abyei'??s Paramount Chief Kuol Deng Kuol was assassinated.



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