For a minority of the settlement's residents, it has been possible to become somewhat informed about the contents of the CPA and its provisions. Many of the settlement's 'intellectuals', students, teachers, those in employment with NGOs or other organisations, those involved in political activity and some traders have found sources of information in the media or through personal networks and have contrived to keep abreast of developments. A few copies of the CPA's principal documents have found their way to the settlement from different sources. One university student, for example, obtained a copy of the CPA from a diplomat friend and was able to bring this to the settlement. Reading matter – especially when related to the conflict in Sudan – is eagerly shared by the literate and politically informed classes there. Amongst this group the CPA and its provisions have provoked cautious optimism.
Amongst the majority of the population, which is made up mainly of farmers, petty traders and day labourers, few are familiar with the detailed contents of the agreement. Almost all are aware, however, that agreement has been made to share power and wealth – including oil wealth – with the government, and that a referendum is to be held on self-determination for the south after a period of six years. The precise nature of these arrangements is not known by the majority, which largely assumes that the southern negotiators would not have accepted disadvantageous terms if this could be helped.
Perhaps more important than what is known in the settlement about the CPA in the abstract, is what is understood about how it differs from the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement. Two features stand out in this respect: firstly, the promise of a referendum, which many Kiryandongo refugees hope and assume will result in the eventual secession of the south from the north. Secondly, most are aware that, unlike in 1972, the SPLA will be maintained in some form as a distinct entity rather than being subsumed entirely into the national army.
The extent to which attitudes among settlement refugees towards those to whom they still refer pejoratively as 'the Arabs' have changed since the signing of the CPA seems to be negligible. Refugees most desire of the peace agreement that the southerners this time avoid the kind of 'betrayal' at the hands of the northerners that they perceive themselves to have experienced during the implementation of the Addis Ababa Agreement. Both the referendum and the continued existence of the SPLA are seen as protection against this possibility.