Archive for January 14, 2012


KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s army fought rebels in the oil-producing state of South Kordofan last week, both sides said on Saturday.

The rebels said they had killed nine government troops, but the army denied this.

Fighting has taken place since last June in South Kordofan between the Sudanese army and rebels from the northern wing of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, who want to topple the Khartoum government.

Clashes spread to neighbouring Blue Nile state, which also borders newly independent South Sudan, in September.

The violence has already forced about 417,000 people to flee their homes, more than 80,000 of them to South Sudan, the United Nations estimates.

Both Blue Nile and South Kordofan contain large groups who sided with the south in a decades-long civil war, and who say they continue to face persecution inside Sudan since South Sudan seceded in July.

The SPLM is now the ruling party in the independent south and denies supporting SPLM-North rebels across the border.

The SPLM-North rebels said they had killed nine soldiers, destroyed three tanks and seized military equipment in clashes at Tees near the southern border on Monday. They also seized three army vehicles in another attack in the same area on Tuesday, they said in a statement.

Army spokesman Sawarmi Khalid Saad confirmed military operations had taken place in the town of Tees to reopen a road but denied any soldiers had been killed.

“These areas are under army control,” he said.

Events in South Kordofan and Blue Nile are difficult to verify because aid groups and foreign journalists are banned from areas where fighting takes place.

SPLM-North is one of a number of rebel movements in underdeveloped border areas who say they are fighting to overthrow Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and end what they see as the dominance of the Khartoum political elite.

Sudan and South Sudan, who still have to resolve a range of issues including the sharing of oil revenues, regularly trade accusations of supporting insurgencies on each other’s territory.

Their armed forces clashed at Jau in a region claimed by both sides last month in a rare direct confrontation.

Locals have faced air raids and sporadic ground fighting, according to rights groups and refugees, although Sudan denies it is bombing civilian areas.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Ben Harding and Peter Graff)

Jocelyn EdwardsSpecial to the Star
The elite pay $110 an hour for a chance to be seen in the stretched Lincoln Navigator.The elite pay $110 an hour for a chance to be seen in the stretched Lincoln Navigator.JOCELYN EDWARDS/FOR THE TORONTO STAR

Sitting in the back of a limousine at South Sudan’s main airport, Latjor Mayul shows off the car’s flat-screen TV and sound system, loaded with gospel music.

As he flicks on the disco lights behind the passengers’ heads, passersby cross the red dirt parking lot for a better look.

The white 2003 Lincoln Navigator is the first and only limousine in South Sudan. In the youngest nation in the world — and one of the globe’s poorest — the car is a display of luxury that doesn’t fail to turn heads.

“When I unloaded it. . . it brought a lot of crowds,” says Mayul, who rents the car for $110 an hour.

He imported it to the capital, Juba, just before the country’s declaration of independence from the north last July, and recalls that “People were very amazed. They said, ‘This city has become a real city now that it has a long car like this.’”

Mayul bought the car in the Netherlands. At first, he says, the dealership was skeptical about the inquiry. “They were shocked that this car was going to Africa,” says Mayul. “It was the first time for them to sell a car to Africa.”

But the businessman, who also has a car rental agency in Juba, paid £26,000 (about $41,000) cash for the Navigator and had it sent by container ship to the nearest port in Kenya.

From there it was a five-day journey over dusty, bumpy roads to bring the limo by car carrier to Juba. Mayul had it covered with a plastic sheet for the journey. “I had to cover it because it could have caused an accident on the way. People would have been staring,” he says.

Though most of the country’s 8 million inhabitants can’t afford its rental rate, the limo has been fully booked since its arrival. A boom in weddings and other celebratory events among Juba’s elite — generally wealthy businessmen and politicians — is driving demand.

The car has been so successful that Mayul is already planning to import another limo, this time a Hummer, to keep up with requests. “People have been fighting (over the limo). If they have two events the same day, people come and tell me, ‘I will give you double,’” he says.

A potent symbol of wealth and power, the limo has a visceral appeal in a nation that has only recently emerged from decades of civil war and deprivation. “People like to show off here,” says Kevina Aber, an event planner. “Because we have been oppressed for so long, it’s almost like a way to win respect and prestige.”

Back in the parking lot of Juba airport, the limo’s driver executes a series of complicated turns to get it back into its parking spot.

In a city with roads marked by deep potholes, Mayul has to send out an advance team to scout the route to clients’ houses. If the roads are impassable, passengers have to meet the limo elsewhere.

South Sudan has fewer than 100 kilometres of paved road. “(The limo) can go on the dirt roads,” says Mayul. “But we drive slowly.”

Jocelyn Edwards is a freelance writer–it-s-a-bumpy-ride-for-south-sudan-s-one-and-only-limo

Jan 14 (Reuters) – South Sudan said Sudan had ordered the loading of 650,000 barrels of southern crude oil on to a tanker belonging to Khartoum, escalating tensions between north and south over how to share oil revenues.

There was no immediate comment by Sudan’s foreign ministry, which on Friday accused South Sudan of having failed to pay duties for oil shipments at the northern oil export terminal in Port Sudan.

South Sudan took over two-thirds of Sudan’s oil production of around 490,000 barrels per day when it became independent in July under a 2005 peace agreement that ended decades of civil war.

The new, landlocked African nation needs to use a northern pipeline and the Red Sea port of Port Sudan to export its crude, but both sides have failed to reach a deal on how much it will pay.

South Sudan’s oil ministry said on Saturday Sudan had forced pipeline operator Petrodar to load the shipment, which is worth $65 million, to a tanker belonging to Khartoum.

“The government of the Republic of South Sudan was informed by Petrodar … that such loading was required, non-negotiable and overseen by the government of Sudan and their national security,” it said.

It named the vessel as “MT Sea Sky.”

Officials at the Sudanese foreign ministry could not immediately be reached for comment after Reuters sent the South Sudanese statement to the ministry via email.

On Friday, the foreign ministry said Sudan was holding two southern shipments because South Sudan had failed to pay the port duties. Two other vessels turned back after approaching Port Sudan when they leaned that port duties had not been paid, it added.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said this month Khartoum would impose a fee until a deal is reached with Juba over a transit fee. He did not elaborate.

Petrodar, a consortium which produces oil in South Sudan and operates the pipeline, could not be immediately reached for comment. Major shareholders include state-owned China National Petroleum Corp, Sinopec and Malaysia’s Petronas.

Sudan and South Sudan are due to resume bilateral talks over sharing oil revenues, sponsored by the African Union, in Ethiopia after making no progress in previous talks. (Reporting by Hereward Holland; Writing by Ulf Laessing)

South Sudan Owes Sudan over USD 900 Million

Khartoum – Oil export revenue arrears payable by South Sudan to Sudan have exceeded USD 900 millions, and that include charges for oil processing, transit fees, cost of transport as well as fees for use of Port, says Sabir Mohamed Al-Hassan, former governor of the Central Bank of Sudan.

Dr. Sabir, who is also head of Sudan’s economic delegation to talks in Addis Ababa, explained that the Government of South Sudan is not willing to enter into any agreement on fees for use of North’s oil facilities and has also rejected the AU proposal and at the same time it wants to use the North’s oil infrastructure to export its oil.

“That is why the Sudanese Government has decided to take its entitlement in kind starting from first December last in return for the services rendered to the South in the form of use of North’s facilities to export its oil and indeed we have taken what is payable to us” he said.

He said the non-payment of charges by the Government of South Sudan to the Sudan has negatively affected the latter’s economy and rate of exchange of its pound.

“We are concerned that this hard-line stance on the part of the South is a reflection of lack of understanding and cooperation caused by the existence of extremist elements and foreign agenda seeking to create problems for Sudan,” he said.

Dr. Sabir expressed the Sudanese Government’s determination to participate in the talks in Addis Ababa scheduled for 17 January, to be held in presence of the AU mediator. “We hope to reach understandings and agreement to address outstanding economic issues which were supposed to have been resolved long back” he said “From our side, we have shown good intention to cooperate with the South and we are keen to achieve understandings and deals that will assist the new state to shoulder its tasks and responsibilities and to enable it to use oil facilities in the North to export its oil abroad despite the fact that it did not sign any agreement, protocol or understanding for cooperation and without paying transit fees since early July 2011”,  he said, adding that “The Government of the South refused to enter into any agreement on charges payable to the North.”

“If an agreement is not reached on the outstanding economic issues both the North and South will be negatively affected and the situation may further escalate and that will also harm the two countries” he warned.

Dr. Sabir expressed hope that efforts by China would succeed to narrow the gap of differences between the two countries. “China is the largest trade partner and maintains distinguished relations with both the Sudan and South Sudan and has appointed special envoy to exert efforts to bring about understanding between Khartoum and Juba” he said.

It is worth mentioning that the Sudan and South Sudan differ on oil sharing whose fields are largely located in the South but the North is also home to key oil facilities.

Oil contributes 98% to South Sudan’s budget which seceded from the North last summer.

Last week Khartoum prevented two South’s oil tankers from leaving the Port and also denied access to the Port for two shipments.

South Sudan announced the conclusion of first oil contract with the outside world since its independence in July when it signed agreements with Chinese, Indian and Malaysian companies.
By Staff Writer, 7 hours 26 minutes ago

Petronas Signs Transition Agreement With South Sudan
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 (Bernama) — Petronas and its partners have signed a transition agreement with the government of South Sudan for the continued operations in the upstream blocks in the country. The operations was previously awarded by the 

South Sudan: Murle Kill 55, Official Accuses Unmiss of Inaction
The commissioners accused the United Nations Mission in South Sudan UNMISS of not providing equal protection to civilians of Lou Nuer in both Akobo and Uror County and categorically said that the UN has failed to evacuate the wounded to hospital 

S.Sudan: Khartoum loads south’s oil on Sudan ship
JUBA Jan 14 (Reuters) – South Sudan said Sudan had ordered the loading of 650000 barrels of southern crude oil on to a tanker belonging to Khartoum, escalating tensions between north and south over how to share oil revenues. 

DOLE imposes total deployment ban on South Sudan
GMA News
The Department of Labor and Employment imposed over the weekend a total ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers to South Sudan. DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz disclosed this late Saturday, after the Philippine Overseas Employment 

South Sudan Owes Sudan over USD 900 Million
Sudan Vision
Khartoum – Oil export revenue arrears payable by South Sudan to Sudan have exceeded USD 900 millions, and that include charges for oil processing, transit fees, cost of transport as well as fees for use of Port, says Sabir Mohamed Al-Hassan

The euphoria of South Sudan’s independence six months ago after decades of civil war with the north has been replaced by fears of escalating tribal violence
AFP , Saturday 14 Jan 2012
South Sudan

In this photo of Thursday, Jan.12, 2012, victims of ethnic violence in Jonglei, state, South Sudan, wait in line at the World Food Program distribution center in Pibor to receive emergency food rations . (Photo: AP)

Sitting on the edge of the bed beside his nine-year-old daughter recovering from a gunshot wound, Mangiro recounted how he lost the rest of his family in recent tribal clashes in South Sudan’s troubled state of Jonglei. “This child was carried by her mother, and her mother was killed,” the next day we carried the child out from under her mother,” said Mangiro, who did not give a second name.

“They were gunned down as a family. Her mother and sisters, all four of them are dead there,” he added, glancing at his surviving daughter Ngathim.

An unknown number of people — at least dozens, some fear hundreds — were killed in tribal clashes this month in Jonglei, declared a “disaster zone” by the Juba government, with the UN warning some 60,000 people had been affected by the violence and are in need of emergency aid.

In Pibor’s clinic run by medical charity Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres-MSF), Ngathim was in one of the few functioning rooms after attackers looted and ransacked the town’s only concrete structure and medical facility.

In a dramatic escalation of bitter tit-for-tat attacks, a militia army of around 8,000 Lou Nuer youths recently marched on Pibor county, attacking villages and taking children and cows away with them, to exact revenge on the Murle whom they blame for abductions and cattle raiding.

From the air, black spots pockmarking the earth show where homes and fields were razed as attackers left villages smouldering in their wake. Large herds of stolen cattle were also seen being driven towards Nuer villages.

In Gumruk, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Pibor, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) registered more than 2,000 people this week who fled attacks on surrounding villages. “We were just sitting at home, and then we were attacked. These Nuer guys came in with their machetes and started cutting people and so we ran,” said Ismiah Shan, a mother of eight who saw villagers shot and slashed with knives, spears or machetes in Thaugnyang, two hours’ walk away.

The government has confirmed around 80 people killed in revenge attacks in Lou Nuer areas this week, but the UN and government cannot confirm the number of Murle killed in the first assault. Some estimates by local government officials in the thousands are not yet verified, as teams asses a vast area lacking roads.

Access difficulties and a state the size of Bangladesh have been cited as the reason why UN peacekeepers and government troops failed to stop the deadly column advancing. Others say troops were dispatched late and were clearly outnumbered, or were hesitant to intervene in a tribal conflict that last year killed around 1,100 people in a series of cattle raids.

When the violence started, Philip Mama Alan fled his village of Lawol, three hours’ walk from Gumruk, but ran into more attackers. “These people came and took some of my colleagues. One of them came and held my hand and said ‘sit down’. Before I sat down, I saw them kill my colleagues and so I ran,” he said.

Running for his life, Alan described the scene as a “slaughter”, saying the men were gunned down and women knifed. He does not want revenge, just for the government to build roads to bring trade into the neglected state, that was one of the worst hit during the decades of civil war with the north.

In the meantime, the huddled masses sitting in the glaring sun outside food distribution centres in Pibor and Gumruk were not thinking about home. Many had been living off wild berries and said there is nothing to go back to after they saw villages destroyed. Others seemed to be taking matters into their own hands in an effort to regain their livelihood.

WFP head of security Wame Duguvesi said that in Pibor this week the body of a Nuer army officer was discovered, while the death toll from other suspected revenge attacks continues to climb in increasingly remote areas far from the security forces.

“Peaceful dialogue is the only way forward to reach a final and durable settlement to their differences,” said Kouider Zerrouk, spokesman for the UN mission in South Sudan, who urged communities to end the worrying cycle of violence.

“The reconciliatory peace process must restart immediately,” he said, after peace talks between the two tribes collapsed in early December.

Written by John Daly
Saturday, 14 January 2012 13:30

There’s bad news and then there’s South Sudan, the world’s newest state. Less than six months after peacefully seceding from Sudan in the wake of an internally supervised plebiscite, South Sudan, potentially one of Africa’s richest petro-states, is descending into rising tribal violence.

The interethnic clashes have killed more than 3,000 and displaced thousands in South Sudan’s Jonglei State, with the UN reporting that tens of thousands of people displaced by the violence are in urgent need of food, water, health care and shelter.

But not to worry, Washington is now engaged, sending…



Health care?


No, on 10 January the Pentagon said that the five officers are expected to depart for South Sudan later this week to join the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS.) The same day South Sudan’s Oil Minister said that north Sudan was siphoning off his country’s oil and threatened to instigate legal proceedings against any country or company involved in buying the allegedly stolen crude. The South Sudanese government also threatened to sue Khartoum over its decision to unilaterally impose monthly charges on its crude oil transported through its pipelines.

South Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum and Mining Stephen Dhieu Dau told journalists in the capital Juba, “Rather than view the New Year as an opportunity for renewed cooperation, the government of Sudan unilaterally decided to impose economic sanctions by blocking exporting our crude and stealing our oil,” gravely adding, “The Government of Sudan and all those that benefit from such illegal acquisitions will find no refuge from South Sudan’s legal authorities and will enjoy no future business with the Government of South Sudan.”

South Sudan is considering building a pipeline to Kenya to bypass having to use north Sudan’s infrastructure, but the project is years away from being implemented. As for the importance of oil to the new government’s economy, South Sudan is one of the world’s poorest countries, with oil export revenues currently accounting for around 98 percent of the government’s annual budget.

Why should the West care?

Because after South Sudan seceded in July 2011, it took with it 75 percent of the Sudan’s known oil wealth. South Sudan is also claiming that Khartoum is arming South Sudanese rebel groups in order to destabilize the new country and retake control of its oil fields.

Ever optimistic, on 12 January South Sudan issued a tender to sell 4.7 million barrels of Dar Blend and 1.6 million barrels of Nile Blend crude for loading in February despite concerns its shipments were being blocked by Sudan at the Bashayer oil export terminal.

Just to make sure that no untoward incidents occur, the quintet of American soldiers would not engage in combat operation but would be armed for personal protection and oh, President Obama issued a memorandum noting, “I hereby certify that members of the U.S. Armed Forces participating in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan are without risk of criminal prosecution or other assertion of jurisdiction by the International Criminal Court (ICC) because the Republic of South Sudan is not a party to the ICC and has not invoked the jurisdiction of the ICC pursuant to Article 12 of the Rome Statute.”

Coincidentally, but hardly as an afterthought, the Obama administration also authorized U.S. companies to operate in South Sudan’s oil sector.

And last but not least, Washington last week added South Sudan to the list of countries eligible to receive U.S. weapons and defense assistance, a gesture certain to enthrall the South Sudan’s northern neighbors in Khartoum.

And oh, that humanitarian crisis? The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, currently visiting Juba said, “This country is facing at the present moment, six months after independence a number of huge humanitarian challenges that needs massive solidarity from the international community.”

As for the intrepid U.S. military personnel boldly going where no U.S. servicemen have gone before, what is the Dinka word for “incoming?”

By. John C.K. Daly of

South Sudan caught in a cycle of violence

South Sudan caught in a cycle of violence
BBC News
In South Sudan, more than fifty people, mostly women and children, were killed on Wednesday in continuing tit-for-tat attacks and cattle raids between the Lou Nuer and the Murle people in the state of Jonglei. Aid agencies say more than 60000 people .