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Abyei of the Ngok Dinka: Not Yet South Sudan

By Bona Malwal

In this book Bona Malwal surveys how hostilities between North and South Sudan became part of the equation in the relationship between the Arabs and the Dinka from both sides of the political divide.

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Written five years after South Sudan gained independence from Sudan, Malwal revisits the years of bitter civil war and makes a heartfelt case for the still unresolved plight of the border Dinka community of Abyei. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed in 2005, requires the Ngok people to vote in a referendum to remain part of Northern Sudan or return to the now independent South, a plight made complex by the 1956 borders drawn by the British before Sudan became independent and the fact that the political leaders of the Ngok Dinka for a long time aspired to make the case of their people synonymous with the political cause of South Sudan.

Written from a position of both love for his people and homeland, and at times frustration, Malwal argues that introducing Abyei into the politics of South Sudan with the North not only served to complicate matters as to the liberation of South Sudan, but that self-determination for the South – as the political bottom line in the search for peace in Sudan – has left the Ngok Dinka community warring on three sides: the North, the South and the former idea of a ‘New Sudan’, as it became entrenched within the leadership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. He concludes that only international intervention can now help the Ngok Dinka – and this book is his call for aid.


Bona Malwal is a visiting academic at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, UK. He is the founder and editor of two daily English-language newspapers in Khartoum, The Vigilant (1965) and The Sudan Times (1986), as well as the founder of the Sudan Democratic Gazette, an exile publication for the Sudanese opposition based in London, UK. He is the author of four previous books on Sudan, People and Power in Sudan; Sudan: Second Challenge

to Nationhood; The Comprehensive Peace Agreement 2005: A Critique; and Sudan

and South Sudan: From One to Two (St Antony’s Series).

Bona holds a Diploma in Journalism from Indiana University, USA, a BSc in Economics from St John’s University, New York, USA and an MSc in Journalism and International Relations from Columbia University, New York, USA. He was held as a prisoner of conscience for fourteen months in 1982 under President Jaafar Mohamed Nimeiri’s military regime in Sudan and was the founding Secretary General of the Southern Front between

October 1964 and November 1968. Bona Malwal has been one of the architects and proponents of the right of the people of South Sudan to self-determination.

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