UNISFA-supported common market opens in Amiet
The joint market for the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya communities which was temporarily suspended due to insecurity formally reopened on 15 August in Amiet, a few kilometers north of Abyei with a few traditional leaders from two communities in attendance.
Marked as a crucial joint community-initiated effort, the reopening of the common market in Amiet, as agreed by the two communities at an earlier meeting, is seen as an emerging symbol of peaceful coexistence between Misseriya and Ngok Dinka in the Abyei Area.
“I trust that this market will strengthen the relationship between the two communities, and will peacefully reconnect the broken ties of the two tribes,” said Deputy Paramount Chief Nyol Paguat Deng during his visit to the market.
The two communities have also agreed to establish a joint traditional court to govern the market. Over the next days, mechanisms regarding the joint traditional court, including the membership nominations will be discussed further by the traditional chiefs. Once the joint traditional court is worked out, the security committee and security guards from the two communities will be formed to assist the traditional court in ensuring peace and security in the market.
“This market will have a positive impact on the lives of people belonging to Misseriya and Ngok Dinka tribes. It is in a market that we meet people, and this is where we build relationships,” said Hamdan Gebril, a sorghum merchant. Hopeful that dynamism shown by traders and buyers on the first day will be sustained, Gebril also expressed optimism that the market will bridge peace between the two communities.
On its reopening, hundreds of people gathered to sell and buy livestock and goods. More than 250 shops have opened, selling sorghum, flour, sugar, oil, among others. Ngok Dinkas were also represented in shops, running cafes, and selling goats and cows. Some of the buyers are reportedly from Unity and Warrap states.
The two communities have sought logistical assistance from United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei’s (UNISFA) for market improvements such as feeder roads within the market, toilets, and provision of water supply as well as electricity (generator).
“Initially, we need UNISFA’s support to ensure security of traders and buyers,” said Hamad Abubakar, one of the officers of the market committee.
The two communities have requested UNISFA to include the market premises in its regular security patrol activities.