Key findings

  • Abyei remains in a political stalemate. This impasse has been politically productive for Juba and Khartoum; even if the conflict in Sudan had not broken out on 15 April, it is unlikely that any progress would have been made with regards to the territory’s future.
  • The real causes of the conflict between the Ngok and Twic Dinka are socio-economic. In a situation of political marginalization and economic disempowerment, the Twic are attempting to take control of the Annet market and Agok.
  • A year of unsuccessful, high-profile interventions, including from South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, has failed to address the causes of this violence.
  • The UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) is perceived as partisan by both the Ngok and Twic Dinka, albeit for different reasons, and the mission has struggled to fulfil its mandate to protect civilians since the Ngok–Twic conflict began in February 2022.
  • The negotiating positions of the Sudanese government and the Ngok Dinka remain unchanged, and the issues that divided the two parties in May 2011, when the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) invaded the territory, still separate them today. There is little hope that these differences can be bridged.
  • Given the antagonisms between the Ngok Dinka and the Misseriya—to the north—and the Twic—to the south—it is likely that conflict will continue in Abyei in the coming months. Such violence will not be transformative; however, while low-intensity violence may receive less attention, it is no less catastrophic for the people of Abyei.