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Abyei residents celebrate as Amiet market reopens after clashes

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The residents of Abyei on Sunday celebrated the reopening of the main Amiet market seven days after it was closed due to insecurity occasioned by internal clashes between Messiriya tribesmen.  

Amiet market is a lifeline that supplies goods from Sudan to the greater Bahr el Ghazal region.

Osman Chol Deng, the chairperson of the local chamber of commerce, confirmed to Radio Tamazuj on Tuesday that the market had reopened and that over 50 trucks that were stranded were released by UNISFA and had started arriving in Abyei.

“Amiet market reopened on 15 August and the market is now busy. The reason for the closure was a problem within the Messirya side, but for us here there is no problem,” Chol said. “The vehicles that were stranded from Sudan arrived at the market and they were over 50. Also, the vehicles which were on standby in Abyei to go to Sudan are moving now.”

He said commodity prices that had shot up for the brief time the market was closed have now been reduced because the marketplace is well stocked.

“We have to say the truth, during the seven-day closure, the common citizens suffered a lot in terms of buying commodities. For example, yesterday in Annet market, I bought two pieces of onions at 200 SSP but before the market closed it would cost 100 SSP. So, it is obvious that it is not easy for people to survive, and for traders, they are much better compared to those buying,” he added.

Deng Kuol, a resident of Anet in Abyei town, said the closure hurt the lives of residents and suggested that tribal conflicts should not be allowed to disrupt the livelihoods of innocent people who live off the market.

“The closure of the market last week affected a lot of mere citizens because the lives of many people depend on the market, including me, because I purchase essential commodities from that market. It is good that it reopened and people should separate issues related to tribes and market,” Kuol cautioned.

Yanman Akerieu Deng, a tea seller, said she depends on the market for survival and that she was excited that it had reopened.

“Life is difficult and the Amiet market is very important. I am very happy that it has reopened because I can earn some money for survival and also buy necessities. When goods are available, it creates peace and we need peace between Dinka and Messiriya,” Akerieu said.

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