Archive for February 10, 2012

ReutersBy Aaron Maasho | Reuters – 

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Sudan and South Sudan on Friday signed a security agreement which aims to defuse tensions over oil payments which officials had warned could spark a war between the two countries.

Landlocked South Sudan took three-quarters of Sudan’s oil production — the lifeline of both economies — but needs to sell its crude through northern export facilities.

Both countries have failed to agree on a transit pipeline fee. Juba shut down last month its entire oil output after Khartoum started seizing southern oil as compensation for what it calls unpaid fees.

Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir warned last week that the tensions with South Sudan, which became independent in July, could lead to war between the two countries.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has been trying to mediate an end to the tensions, said the deal was a “non-aggression pact” aimed at avoiding any armed conflict.

“This deal addresses those issues,” Mbeki told reporters when asked whether the agreement would defuse the threat of war.

The security agreement, brokered by the African Union in Addis Ababa, said the two sides agree to “respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in internal affairs, rejection of the use of force, equality and mutual benefit; and peaceful coexistence.”

Apart from oil, Sudan and South Sudan need to find a solution to the disputed border region of Abyei and to mark the joint border. Both countries often accuse each other of supporting rebels on the other’s territory.

(Reporting by Aaron Maasho; Writing by Ulf Laessing)

Sudan, South Sudan Sign Treaty of Non-Aggression

VOA News

Sudan and South Sudan have signed a border security agreement that aims to defuse growing tensions over oil revenue payments.

The chief negotiator, former South African President Thabo Mbeki, said Sudan and South Sudan signed the non-aggression pact Friday during a meeting in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Details of the pact were not immediately available.

When South Sudan seceded in July of last year, it took most of the region’s oil fields, but the oil from the landlocked country must transit Sudan to reach ports.

Juba last month halted its production after Khartoum started seizing southern oil as compensation for what it calls unpaid transit fees.

Earlier Friday, natural resource monitoring group Global Witness expressed concern about escalating tensions between the two sides.

Sudan wants South Sudan to pay transit fees of more than $30 per barrel. The industry standard is closer to $1 per barrel.

Tensions have also remained high over disagreements about how to demarcate the border, and accusations that each side is arming the other’s rebel groups.

The dispute has hurt both economies. More than 90 percent of South Sudan’s revenues are derived from oil exports. Sudan is said to have lost more than $7 billion when the South gained independence.

On Thursday, South Sudan announced an agreement with Ethiopia allowing it to build an oil pipeline through Ethiopia to the port of Djibouti

Sven Torfinn for The New York Times

Several development and construction projects in Khartoum came to a standstill. Sudan’s once fast-growing economy has plummeted since July, when South Sudan broke off and became an independent country, taking billions of dollars of oil with it.


KHARTOUM, Sudan — Sudan and the breakaway nation of South Sudan are locked in an exceedingly dangerous game of brinkmanship over billions of gallons of oil, seizing tankers, shutting down wells and imperiling the tenuous, American-backed peace that has held — just barely — between the two countries after decades of war.

Not for years have north-south relations been so poisonous, with a proxy war between the two nations that has already flared into direct Sudan-South Sudan clashes. The jagged, disputed frontier separating Sudan from its newly independent neighbor is now probably the most incendiary fault line in Africa, with big armies that fought each other for generations massing on either side.

After emergency talks to prevent a full-fledged conflict, the two sides agreed to a non-aggression pact late on Friday, yielding to intense pressure from the African Union, the United States and China — a major oil partner for both sides — to move beyond the language and tactics of mutual destruction. But few analysts see any easy solutions to the heated push and pull over oil.

Both sides desperately need the oil to run their governments, feed their people and stamp out spreading rebellions within their borders. And theoretically, both sides need each other. The conundrum of the two Sudans is that 75 percent of the oil lies in the south, but the pipeline to export it runs through the north. Because of this, oil was once thought to be the glue that would hold the two nations together and prevent a conflict. Now, it seems, oil is becoming the fuse.

When South Sudan broke off from Sudan last year, after years of guerrilla struggle, its independence was heralded as the triumphal capstone ending one of Africa’s deadliest civil wars. But the question of how exactly the two sides would share oil profits loomed ominously over the separation, unresolved. Now that both nations are struggling to make it on their own, the issue has proved to be as prickly — and perilous — as many feared.

It was South Sudanese oil that drove Sudan’s economic boom of the past decade and made the repression by Sudan’s Islamist government (which is still heavily penalized by the United States) tolerable to many Sudanese. When South Sudan declared independence, it took billions of dollars’ worth of oil with it, gutting Sudan’s economy and creating one of the deepest crises that President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has faced in his more than 20 years in power.

Mr. Bashir is now battling high inflation, a shrinking economy, student protests and several simultaneous rebellions — in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile State — as well as genocide charges related to the massacres several years ago in Darfur, and stiff American sanctions.

At the same time, South Sudan, one of the poorest countries on earth, is facing a major food crisis and heavily armed ethnically based militias that have been sweeping parts of the countryside, killing hundreds and making a mockery of the South Sudanese security forces.

Stoking the tensions, Sudan and South Sudan are covertly backing rebels in each other’s backyards, leading to border clashes and relentless aerial bombings. The more than 1,000-mile border between them is now effectively closed, with millions of pounds of emergency food and just about all trade held up in a two-way stranglehold.

Before the emergency accord on Friday, the situation was so precarious that many saw only violent outcomes. “I, personally, expect full-fledged war,” said Mariam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, a leading opposition politician in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital. “This is like the previews before a film.”

In the fight over oil, the south has refused to turn over royalties for using Sudan’s pipelines. Sudan upped the ante in late December by seizing oil tankers filled with South Sudanese crude. Then, the south took the drastic step of abruptly shutting down all of its oil wells, which could quickly bring the economies of both north and south to their knees. South Sudanese officials have admitted that they are using their oil to squeeze Khartoum to make concessions on all sorts of issues, including the disputed area of Abyei, insisting that oil production, about 350,000 barrels a day, will resume only after “ all the deals are signed.”

The south has even threatened to sit on its oil for years while it builds an alternative pipeline through Kenya. But it is not clear how the new country would survive that long; oil provides about 98 percent of government revenue. Experts question whether the Kenya pipeline is even feasible. It would have to run uphill, requiring many expensive pumping stations, and most likely slice across Jonglei, a South Sudanese state that, with all its marauding militias, is essentially a war zone these days.

In Khartoum, many people are still struggling to swallow the fact that the south is gone. Nobody likes the new map of Sudan. It used to be Africa’s biggest country. Now it looks as if it has been crudely amputated, with the ragged edges of a raw wound.

“I still can’t get used to it,” said Nada Gerais, a sales manager in Khartoum. “It looks, looks …,” she struggled for the right word. “Weird.”

Mrs. Gerais is a perfect example of the nose dive Sudan’s economy has taken. She works in a meticulously polished Nissan dealership that used to sell 50 cars a month. Now, sometimes, it is down to five. She is thinking of switching to pharmaceuticals or food.

“People can stop buying cars, but they can’t stop eating,” she explained.

During the past decade, Sudan’s oil wealth fueled new factories, roads, countless shish kebab joints and plans for a futuristic minicity, a billion-dollar airport and the entire reconfiguring of this capital to include a breezy promenade along the Nile.

But so many of these plans have been shelved. High-rise buildings stand half-finished, and the plummeting value of the Sudanese pound has pushed electronics, books and even tomatoes out of reach for many.

Officials in Khartoum say the south owes them nearly $1 billion in pipeline fees, money needed to keep their economy from collapsing, and they recently sold some of the oil from the seized tankers before releasing them. South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, said the amount Khartoum wanted, $32 per barrel, was “exorbitant” and “completely out of international norms.”

Sabir M. Hassan, a Sudanese government negotiator, said that the north was willing to be flexible, but that the southerners were “too emotional” and still saw themselves as rebels.

“If you give them two choices, they’ll choose the one that hurts the north, not the one that helps the south,” Mr. Hassan said.

South Sudanese leaders say the same about Khartoum, which has blockaded roads leading south and recently held up humanitarian shipments, all to punish the south at the cost of millions of dollars in lost business.

Many political analysts wonder whether Mr. Bashir will be able to survive all these crises. But it is hard to see who would replace him.

Sudan’s political opposition is deeply divided and run by white-bearded septuagenarians. The rebel movements do not have much support in Khartoum. Sudanese students started an Arab Spring-like movement last year, but they failed to gain any traction. The security forces were quick to arrest protesters and string them up from ceiling fans.

And Sudan has a resilience that transcends the turmoil. Every Friday, in a dusty ring on Khartoum’s outskirts, hundreds of Nuban men gather to watch traditional wrestling. Ethnic Nubans are leading the rebellion against Khartoum in the Nuba Mountains. But there is little evidence of that here.

“Things are fine,” said one elderly spectator.

Just as he was about to elaborate, a young wrestler scooped up his opponent and body-slammed him in the dirt.

“You see that!” the old man hollered. “My God, I love this.”

INTERVIEW-Olympics-South Sudan race to compete at London Games
Declared independent last July, South Sudan also wants to send a wheelchair basketball team, made up of amputees injured in the conflict in the country, to the Paralympics, Cirino Hiteng Ofuho told Reuters in an interview. “Right now we are discussing 

Russian, Chinese arms sales propel Sudanese conflict
Catholic Online
Ukraine has reported to the UN register that it exported 90 tanks to Sudan in 2010. Both Russia and the Ukraine have also supplied military equipment to South Sudan, he added. Amnesty International said an estimated 70000 people were displaced from 

Two Sudans Near Brink in Oil Dispute
New York Times
KHARTOUM, Sudan — Sudan and the breakaway nation of South Sudan are locked in an exceedingly dangerous game of brinkmanship over billions of gallons of oil, seizing tankers, shutting down wells and imperiling the tenuous, American-backed peace that 

Kenyan political aspirants bombarded by outrageous demands

By Kenfrey Kiberenge

Voters are in the dock for making outrageous demands to political aspirants in exchange for their votes, a habit experts warn  has entrenched corruption.

Aspirants have come out complaining how they are usually taken aback by requests often made through calls or Short Messages Service sent through their mobile phones. Members of Parliament have also not been let off the hook, as their constituents keep forwarding them ‘shopping lists’, which many feel should be handled personally by the requester.

The frequency of harambees during the campaign period also escalates with aspirants getting tens of invitations in what former Subukia MP Koigi Wamwere terms as “manifestation of beggary”.

This has left them in a catch-22 situation: bogged down but at the same time too afraid to decline or publicly condemn the trend for fear of being branded broke and therefore unelectable according to majority of Kenyan voters’ perception.

But to circumvent this, MPs cleverly passed the Elections Act 2011, which bars anybody aspiring for political office from partaking in a fundraiser eight months before the election. 

The Act applies to all levels of office from presidency, governor, senator, MP, women representative and councillors.

In one instance, an MP from Nyanza was felled for giving Sh500 to each bereaved family within the constituency, which earned him the demeaning tag of “Mr Five Hundred”.

Wamwere says he has encountered “ill-advised and humiliating” demands from his constituents.

“At one point, a family was bereaved and they had mortgaged their title deed. I spoke to then Health Minister Charity Ngilu and the hospital bill was waived, but they went ahead and arranged a harambee and had the audacity to invite me. That was callous,” said Wamwere. 

In another instance, a not-so-poor mother, whose son had benefitted from the Constituency Development Fund bursary, approached the  former MP requesting money to hire a graduation gown. On average, the gown is hired out at a modest Sh3,000. 

“Some things are so private and intimate you should do them personally. Like dowry, outside yourself, only your father can pay for you. I also had a case where a woman was begging for money as her husband just stood there. No matter how desperate a situation is, you should not watch your wife beg for money from another man,” he said. 

An MP from Kiambu, who declined to be named for fear he may lose his seat for disparaging his constituents, says he was once phoned, with the caller telling him to meet them at the maternity. 

“He told me ‘napeleka mama maternity sasa tukutane huko (I am taking my wife to the maternity, let’s meet there)’ and I was left wondering: You started the job, finish it!” charged the legislator.

An aspiring governor, who is  a senior civil servant, also narrated how he had been inundated with calls and text messages from his county residents asking for outrageous favours.

“On a Saturday afternoon, I get an SMS like ‘I am at Makuti bar, please make my evening. Your voter’. That person expects me to send money for them to pay their beer bills,” he said.

 Due to his current position, he has received impromptu visits by villagers who carry curriculum vitae and certificates expecting him to employ their relatives.

Hand-outs culture

“It’s crazy! You have to feed them for the entire duration they are here, accommodate them, and also pay for their fare back home, besides reimbursing what they had used,” said the aspirant. 

Bumula MP Bifwoli Wakoli confesses he has had a funeral programme where he offered a vehicle, food and money to every bereaved family in his constituency.

“I stopped the programme in December because of the law that bars aspirants from contributing in harambees. But I still have a motorcycle and an employee who goes round the constituency taking condolences on my behalf. I am not complaining. If someone is bereaved and you have something it is good to help,” he said.

Experts are now warning that this behaviour has pervaded a hand-outs culture in the country, which has in turn encouraged corruption by some of the candidates who ascend to office. Koki Muli, an electoral expert, argues that the behaviour is responsible for the high levels of graft in State offices.

“Once they get into office, their first priority will be to recover the money they used. Nobody will give you money for free,” Dr Muli, who serves as director of South Eastern University College, said.

She said MPs are in a fix as the effect of declining to give out money will be rejection by the voters.

“But people should do like Martha Karua and tell people from the outset that you won’t give them money so they won’t ask for it,” she said.

But Wamwere says voters shun aspirants who refuse to part with hand-outs.

To reverse the situation, Koki says intensive voter and civic education needs to be conducted, adding the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and Justice Ministry should ensure this is done. 

“IEBC should educate Kenyans that it is against the law to receive any money from an aspirant and the ministry must tell Kenyans what are the contents of the Constitution and from which Government agency they should expect services,” she said.

But Wamwere says both the aspirants and voters are to blame, although the latter is the ultimate loser.

“It is sad because everything in Kenya has been commoditised, including leadership. So the elective position go to the highest bidder,” said the former Subukia MP. Wamwere also blames the media “corroborating the voters’ expectations” by analysing an aspirant’s wealth as part of the strengths.

But Wakoli says the only way MPs can stamp out the hand-out culture is by availing themselves to their constituents on a regular basis.

“If the only time they see you is during the campaigns then they will definitely demand money. Like now am walking on foot at my local market and nobody is asking for any money because since Parliament went on recess I have been here,” said the legislator via phone.

Sudan, South Sudan

Peter Heinlein | Addis Ababa

Sudan and South Sudan have resumed talks on oil revenue sharing and other issues that have raised bilateral tensions to the boiling point. The talks are being held in Addis Ababa under African Union mediation.

A fresh round of negotiations began late Friday at a luxury Addis Ababa hotel.

The Sudanese and South Sudanese defense ministers led the opening session.  A spokesman said the two sides discussed a framework to govern how they would interact on border issues.

Diplomatic observers at Friday’s talks say the preparatory nature of the opening session indicates the deep mistrust between the two sides.  Both Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudanese President Salva Kir have in recent days suggested the neighbors may be close to war.

The last round of talks two weeks ago ended in mutual recriminations, with the south cutting off the flow of the oil that is critical to the economies of both countries.

The south is likely to suffer from the cutoff more because oil generates about 97 percent of its income. But chief negotiator Pagan Amoum emerged from that round of talks saying South Sudan would rather lose all its revenue than allow their oil to be stolen.

“So you are right, South Sudan is losing and stands to lose,” said Amoum. “It is because the government of Sudan is stealing and robbing the resources. That is why we are losing.”

South Sudan’s Oil Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau recently said he believes the Khartoum government is imposing impossible conditions and fees on the oil to punish the south for seceding from the north last July.

“What we need from them is acceptance of the best state practice, the international experience in a case like ours where by the landlocked country is allowed to transit, to pass the commodities based on a reasonable agreed fees between the two countries,” said Dhieu Dau. “But unfortunately Khartoum is introducing punitive fees, discriminatory fees against South Sudan as a penalty for the secession.”

With tensions running high, several international actors are working closely with the African Union mediation team, which is led by former South African president Thabo Mbeki.  The United States, Britain, Norway and China all have senior envoys involved in seeking an agreement.

Amanda Hsiao of the Washington-based Enough Project says urgent action is needed to prevent a further escalation of hostilities.

“To prevent a complete collapse in North-South relations, the international community needs to seize on this next round of negotiations as their last-ditch opportunity,” said Hsiao. “All efforts must be made, all diplomatic levers must be pulled to pull the two sides closer together, to reconcile their differences and to get them to sign a comprehensive agreement.”

With no end to the dispute in sight, South Sudan this week signed a memorandum of understanding with Ethiopia to build an alternative pipeline to the port of Djibouti.  South Sudanese Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin was quoted as saying a U.S.-based company could build the line in six months.

The current round of Addis Ababa talks is expected to last at least a week.  Negotiations on the most contentious issue, sharing oil revenues, are scheduled to begin next Tuesday.

                                                                                   Photo: Hannah McNeish/IRIN
                                                                                    The UN estimates 140,000 people need help

Prosecute Those Responsible, Seek International Investigation

FEBRUARY 10, 2012
This goes far beyond traditional cattle-rustling. The conflict is far more vicious, involving the deliberate targeting of villagers, including women and children, for abuse and has taken on dangerous ethnic and political overtones.
Daniel Bekele, Africa director

(New York) – South Sudan should urgently ensure an effective and independent investigation into the violent, ethnic-driven attacks in Jonglei state, and arrest and prosecute those identified as responsible, Human Rights Watch said today. To assist this task, it should promptly ask the United Nations and regional organizations to establish a commission of inquiry.

“To stem this horrific cycle of violence, the organizers have to be held to account,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “For speed and credibility’s sake, the government should ask the UN and African bodies for help.”

Since early January, 2012, the government has repeatedly promised to investigate the attacks and hold those responsible to account, but it has not made any apparent progress in investigations or arrests. There have been new attacks and counter-attacks in January and February, and threats of more to come in March. To help South Sudan move forward with investigations, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon could appoint a commission of inquiry consisting of experts, including South Sudanese, and request support from the African Union, Human Rights Watch said.

On December 23, 2011, according to UN estimates, 8,000 armed men, largely from ethnic Lou Nuer villages in central Jonglei state, attacked ethnic Murle villages in the eastern part of the state, starting with the town of Likwongole. The attackers burned and looted homes; killed and injured people using machetes, sticks, knives, and guns; abducted women and children; seized hundreds of thousands of cattle; and forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes to hide in the bush.

Intelligence gathered by government forces and the United Nations peacekeepers had indicated some time in advance that such attacks were imminent, and both the UN and the government warned residents of local communities to flee. However, because of unsuccessful government efforts to mediate with the communities and an inability to move extra forces into the area swiftly, the government and UN forces in the area were too greatly outnumbered to intervene. A witness who was at the scene several days after the attack told Human Rights Watch he saw 12 dead bodies, including three women who appeared to have been raped with blunt objects.

A week after the attack, despite a visit by Vice President Riek Machar to the area to speak to the leaders of the armed group in an effort to stop the violence, the attackers pushed south to the town of Pibor. The presence of United Nations peacekeepers and South Sudanese forces in Pibor may have averted wholesale destruction of the town. However, it did not prevent the attackers from burning down parts of it nor from proceeding further south into more remote villages where initial testimony gathered by the South Sudan Human Rights Commission indicates that the attackers killed, wounded, and abducted many more people.

The death toll and full impact on communities is still being determined. Murle leaders reported that more than 3,000 had been killed, while UN monitors have been able to confirm just a fraction of that figure and have not released an estimate of total casualties.

Scores of people from both Murle and Nuer communities are being treated for machete and gunshot wounds at clinics in Pibor, Juba, and Malakal, and international aid groups are struggling to provide assistance to more than 140,000 people affected by the attacks and counter-attacks.

“This goes far beyond traditional cattle-rustling,” Bekele said. “The conflict is far more vicious, involving the deliberate targeting of villagers, including women and children, for abuse and has taken on dangerous ethnic and political overtones.”

In early January, President Salva Kiir vowed to “work to ensure those behind this attack are identified and brought to justice,” and the government spokesman, Dr. Barnaba Marial, said the government was in the process of setting up an investigation committee to arrest perpetrators. However, Human Rights Watch is has not been able to get any information that any arrests have been made in connection with the conflict.

Meanwhile there have been retaliation attacks by Murle in January and February 2012, and a statement issued on February 4 by a group calling itself the “Dinka and Nuer White Army” indicatinganother attack is being organized for March 1 .

The South Sudan Human Rights Commission and the human rights team in the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission (UNMISS) have both carried out fact-finding investigations, but both reports, seen by or described to Human Rights Watch, are preliminary and focus on documenting testimony and violations over questions of responsibility. Neither fulfills the need for a thorough investigation, capable of identifying the perpetrators with a view to bring them to justice, Human Rights Watch said.

Political sensitivities may also be at play, and officials and parties on the grounds are quick to make allegations that government politicians in both Sudan and South Sudan are playing a role in stoking the violence. In January South Sudan’s president, vice president, and spokesman all publicly warned “politicians” against inciting violence.

Groups inside and outside South Sudan have issued statements supporting the violence. One press statement issued on December 25 by “Lou and Jikany Youth in Jongeli State” said the youth had captured the town of Likwongole and had decided to “wipe out the entire Murle tribe on the face of the earth.” A self-appointed “Leader of Nuer Youth in North America” issued additional statements, announced the formation of the “Nuer White Army,” and publicly claimed he had raised $45,000 in the United States and Canada to support the attacks.

Jonglei state has a history of violent clashes between the Lou Nuer, Murle, and Dinka communities. Easy access to guns,  the tactic of targeting women and children for killings and abduction, and hostile rhetoric have all contributed to the surge in violence in recent years, with more than 1,000 killed in March and April of 2009alone.

No one has ever been arrested or prosecuted for the 2009 attacks, and the lack of accountability and failure to put into place an effective and equitable grievance procedure, help perpetuate the inter-communal conflict.

In recent weeks, the South Sudanese government has indicated that it is planning a civilian disarmament operation of the affected Murle, Nuer, and Dinka communities. Civilian disarmaments have become a standard government response to inter-communal violence, but on occasion these operations have themselves turned violentand could spark further violence if the decision to disarm a particular community is seen as leaving it vulnerable to attack by its armed enemies.

If the government proceeds, it should ensure the operation is community-led, even-handed in respect to the scope and timing of the disarmament of each community, and carried out in a way that respects human rights, Human Rights Watch said.

South Sudan told to arrest killers

Sat, 11 February 2012

JUBA — South Sudan must honour promises to investigate, arrest and prosecute those responsible for an explosion of bloody ethnic violence in war-wracked Jonglei state, Human Rights Watch said yesterday. “To stem this horrific cycle of violence, the organisers have to be held to account,” said Daniel Bekele, HRW’s Africa director, adding UN and African bodies should help for “speed and credibility’s sake.”
“The government has repeatedly promised to investigate the attacks and hold those responsible to account, but it has not made any apparent progress in investigations or arrests,” the New York-based rights group added. UN peacekeepers mandated to protect civilians have been unable to reliably assess how many people were killed during the brutal attacks last month.
That left forces in the area “too greatly outnumbered to intervene” HRW said, with government officials and UN peacekeepers telling civilians to flee for their lives ahead of the marauding force. Meanwhile, more than 129,200 people have fled fighting in Sudan’s Blue Nile and South Kordofan states since June 2011, the United Nations agency for refugees (UNHCR) said
yesterday. The refugees had largely fled to the newly
independent South Sudan or neighbouring Ethiopia, although the UN said those nations were struggling to cope with the inflows.
The conflict along the border kicked off last year, just before the south formally gained its sovereignty from the north.
Sudan’s army has been fighting the northern wing of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement — the ruling party of South Sudan.
“Aid agencies are concerned that food insecurity in parts of South Kordofan and Blue Nile could reach emergency levels early this year,” UNHCR said. — AFP/dpa

* South Sudan produced about 260,000 bpd of crude in Dec

* Disagreements with north over fees a threat to supply

By Yeganeh Torbati

LONDON, Feb 10 (Reuters) – South Sudanese oil output could remain absent from world markets in the near future, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Friday, as the country struggles to reach a revenue-sharing agreement with its northern neighbour.

South Sudan shut down its oil production in January, after Sudan seized some of the crude in a dispute over fees.

The landlocked South’s only current means of exporting its crude is through northern pipelines, although it is considering building a pipeline through Ethiopia and Djibouti.

The IEA estimates South Sudan was producing about 260,000 barrels per day (bpd) in December, while Sudan produced 110,000 bpd.

“In the absence of a foreseeable resolution, we have also reduced production estimates by around 200,000 bpd in (the first quarter of 2012) and by 100,000 bpd for 2012, reflecting landlocked South Sudan’s export conundrum,” the IEA said.

China, which imported 260,000 bpd of Sudanese and South Sudanese oil last year, about 5.2 percent of its total imports, is likely to see the biggest impact from the disruption, the IEA said.

Khartoum and Juba have other disagreements, including over the status of Abyei, a border region that is claimed by both.

“While it is impossible to predict the outcome, the broader set of economic and political factors at play mean that the two countries’ oil output will remain at risk at least for the remainder of the year,” the IEA said.

Sudan and South Sudan are set to resume oil talks on Friday. (Reporting By Yeganeh Torbati; editing by Keiron Henderson)

South Sudan oil output at risk in 2012 – IEA
South Sudan produced about 260000 bpd of crude in Dec * Disagreements with north over fees a threat to supply By Yeganeh Torbati LONDON, Feb 10 (Reuters) – South Sudanese oil output could remain absent from world markets in the near future, 

SOUTH SUDAN: Briefing on Jonglei violence
JUBA, 10 February 2012 (IRIN) – Several clashes involving thousands of combatants in South Sudan’s Jonglei state have highlighted the volatility of the world’s newest country, affecting some 140000 people. A major new offensive has been announced to 

South Sudan set for Caf membership
BBC Sport
South Sudan is set to become a provisional member of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) on Friday. The move will mark the first step to it becoming the world’s newest footballing nation. The country, which was declared independent from Sudan 

South Sudan admitted as a member of CAF
LIBREVILLE, Gabon (AP) –South Sudan was admitted as a member of the Confederation of African Football on Friday, becoming the world’s newest footballing nation. Africa’s football body accepted the application by the South Sudan Football Association to 

Amnesty, HRW concerned about Sudans
10 (UPI) — Leading human rights organizations expressed alarm over the situation in the Sudanese region, where ethnic violence and weapons in Darfur threaten the region. Human Rights Watch called on authorities in South Sudan, which gained 

Don’t Paralyze the Peacekeepers
New York Times
IN South Sudan, which is once again on the verge of descent into war, the new year began with a horrific scene: the corpses of men, women and children lying strewn in the mud, killed by a militia just yards from the gates of a United Nations compound 

South Sudan in Ethiopia-Djibouti oil pipeline deal
BBC News
Landlocked South Sudan has signed a second oil pipeline deal in a bid to reduce its dependence on Sudan – amid a deepening oil crisis. The only export route for southern oil – which makes up 98% of its budget – is via its northern neighbour…

Sudan & South Sudan set to resume post-secession talks
Sudan Tribune
February 9, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan and South Sudan are due today to resume negotiations on a host of post-secession issues amid a period of acrimony caused by repeated failure to resolve their oil dispute. Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, right, 

South Sudan: Warrap and Lakes states appeal to the executive to stop tribal 
Sudan Tribune
They also raised concern over lack of effective communications between the three governors in order to amicably address the insecurity situation involving their respective states. Comments on theSudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules…

South Sudan: Govt Enters Discussions With Djibouti Over Alternative Pipeline Route
By Ngor Arol Garang, 9 February 2012 Juba — South Sudan on Thursday said it has started talks with the Djibouti government to build an alternative oil pipeline through Ethiopia and Djibouti; weeks after the cabinet of the new nation passed a 

South Sudan: Justice Needed to Stem Violence
Human Rights Watch
(New York) – South Sudan should urgently ensure an effective and independent investigation into the violent, ethnic-driven attacks in Jonglei state, and arrest and prosecute those identified as responsible, Human Rights Watch said today.

Angola Sends Envoy to South Sudan to Seek Oil Deal, Jornal Says
Angola will send an envoy to South Sudan next week to negotiate an oil deal for state-owned oil company Sonangol EP, Novo Jornal reported, citing an unidentified company official. President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has asked Lopo do Nascimento, ..

Arthur Akuien Chol: My Conscience is Clear and Clean!!

Arthur Akuein Chol, South Sudan former Finance minister addressing the media in Juba, February 09, 2012 (ST)

The disgraced ex-minister of Finance in the defunct government of South Sudan (GoSS), Mr. Arthur Akuien Chol, who was fired over corruption allegations in 2007 has come out fighting denying corruption allegations leveled against himself. As reported by the Citizen Newspaper, Mr. Chol has instead leveled “strong accusations against the SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum of receiving 30 Million US dollars from him in his personal account in 2006 and further alleged that the Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny instructed him the same year to purchase vehicles for the Government of Southern Sudan GOSS from Cardinal Company whose price was twice the actual amount.”

Mr. Chol was fired and arrested in 2007 over an allegation that he pocketed $30-60 million. But he was freed immediately afterward when, allegedly, heavily armed “boys from his clan”  broke into the government prison and took away Mr. Chol daring anyone to follow them.  In one of the recorded corruption incidences, the government was reported to have paid over $400, 000 per a vehicle. The former finance minister has remained free ever since, no investigation or further arrest has been carried out.

The surprising resurfacing of Mr. Chol, after years out of the limelight, could be attributed to a recent report released by South Sudan Auditor General, Mr. Stephen Wondu, that concluded “that millions of money was swindled in the year 2005-2006 alone.” The report recommend the persecution of all people link to the malpractices of the time. Mr. Chol was not only the finance minister responsible for the purse, he has already been implicated in those corruptions.

It remain to be seen if his vehement denial and attempt to drag in SPLM SG Pagan Amum, and South Sudan VP, Dr. Machar, will have any effect on the phase, pace and eventual outcome of the recommended persecution of the culprits. Is South Sudan judiciary independent, strong  and prepared enough , willing and ready, to persecute SG Pagan and VP Dr. Machar in addition to Mr. Chol should there be substantial evidence to go ahead with the investigation and persecution? Only time will tell


PaanLuel Wel

Press Release from Hon. Arthur Akuien Chol, South Sudan Former Finance Minister Fired For Corruption.

On behalf of the South Sudanese citizens, the leadership of South Sudan, and on my own behalf, I wish to take this opportunity to thank all the sons and daughters of this new born nation, and congratulate them all for a job well done in ensuring our independence as a new nation. I would also extend my warm appreciation to the leadership of our president, Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit for leading us through the hardships and delivering us to our newcountry. My appearance today before you all is in the sole interest of all citizens of this country, the Republic of South Sudan towhom I remain loyal.

As you all know, I was the first minister of Finance and Economic Planning for the Government of South Sudan, a position I held through the era of struggle, upuntil 2007, when I was removed from office, due to false allegations ofcorruption that were made against me. Today marks my first public appearance inreference to this matter, as I have never spoken out since my removal fromoffice. The reason why I have never publicly stood up and countered theallegations, was for reasons of patriotism. I did not want to spoil the process that was leading us, as the peopleknown as the “Southern Sudanese”, to the independence of South Sudan, and thesubsequent declaration of the Republic of South Sudanas a united nation.

I was accused recently in the newspapers, and by some Parliamentarians of not going to Parliament to answer questions about the irregularities in the 2006 report produced by the Auditor General.  Thereason why I was not present at that meeting was because I was told that my presence was not required, as I had already written and submitted a report tothe Public Accounts Committee.

As I have noted, there have been constant attempts being made by some few individuals within the current governing body to discredit and defame me as a significant figure amongst the founding members of this nation. These accusations all range from my time in office after the signing of the CPA and the formation of theGovernment of National Unity, and continue to this date.

It is unfortunate that I have now been pushed to the point where it is necessary forme to stand up and take this opportunity to list out some, if only a few, ofthe transgressions made by a few against the Public interest of the People of South Sudan, for, as I mentioned earlier, time and circumstance had now allowed me to speak out, and let the whole country know how public funds were, and arebeing mishandled and misused.

1.       In 2006, I was accused of misusingand stealing public funds. This was propagated by some few individuals within the government that led to a caucus sitting of the Sudan People’s LiberationMovement (SPLM) as an intervention. The latter, in response to this matter,resolved with their own clear findingsm that transparency and accountabilityhad existed within what was then, my Ministry.

In my own opinion, this was the beginning of my downfall. The government of theperiod of 2005-06, had a great influx of cash, and I being the Minister ofFinance at that time, had strict operative values, that could not allow public money to be rotating anyhow amongst corrupt individuals. This was the beginning of my accusations, by a manipulation of opinion, both Government and Public, and used as a way for me to be removed from office, in order to allow a certain few unscrupulous and corrupt individuals within the  governing system, easy access to public money, without the fear of question by me.

2.       In the same year of 2006, I was again accused on matters regarding a grant of $ 60, 000, 000 (Sixty million US dollars) given to GOSS/SPLM by the president of Sudan, Omar el Bashir. These accusations were made by the SPLM Secretary General, Pagan Amum, and Luka Biong, the treasurer of the SPLM, stating that I had stolen the above figures but clearly, this amount was paid to the account of GOSS in the Bank of Sudan with Issac Makur and Silvano Jal Malith assignatories to the account. My involvement in this could be in reference to the approvals I made, having been given instructions from above, which led to the expenditure of $30, 000,000, of which I hold copies of the originals, of all documents of the above expenditures, and can fully account for them. The other $30,000,000 was placed in the hands of SPLM SG, Pagan Amum, as it was paid by the Ministry of Finance directly into his account as once again I had been instructed from above. That transfer was done on 22 December 2006 and I believe that he, Pagan Amum is the one who should account, and he can clearly tell the public how he spent those funds,as I am not accountable for his expenditures.

3.       Leading to my removal as the Minister of Finance, Iwas accused of purchasing vehicles from the Cardinal Company at a price twice the actual amount. These vehicles were purchased following the written instructions from the Vice President of GOSS, Dr. Riak Machar Teny, that I should purchase the vehicles from Cardinal Company for various Ministries. In turn, I directed the undersecretary of Finance to proceed with the transaction,after involving the Procurement Department in accordance with the proper procurement procedures that were to be followed in my absence due to my visit to Malaysia and Singapore on official business for the Government of Southern Sudan.Despite all my precautions and procedures that I put in place to be followed, I was then held responsible for these purchases, while my directives to the undersecretary clearly indicated procurement procedures had to be followed inaccordance with the laid down procedures. As a result,

I was removed from my office and my duties as Minister of Finance were abruptly terminated, and immediately thereafter, I was accused and arrested for corruption. I was later investigated and tried, but there was no evidence of wrong doing, and the casewas dismissed by the province Judge Malek Mathiang in Jubaon the 30th September 2009

This has all led up to this, which I hope is the final accusation,  and which is the driving factor of holding this press conference today, so that you, the members of the Press are fully briefed and can inform the public at large that there are more facts to this accusation that have never been spoken about or disclosed. These accusations have been directly made by an individual who has turned to the media to show grievances of his dismissal as the Governor of Bank of South Sudan.For instance, I was tasked by the Auditor General to explain why there was adiscrepancy of US$ 7 million between the amount transferred out to the accountin Geneva and the amount returned to the accountof GOSS in the Central Bank of Khartoum?  I replied that the Central Bank of Khartoum should be the ones to account for that as theywere the agents of the transactions.

In conclusion, however, I do acknowledge and commend the Auditor General for having tabled the audit reports for the year 2005-2006 before the national assembly, however, I do not believe that there was sufficient attention given to the discovery of the true facts and I am of the opinion thatthe Auditor General should instruct his auditors to do a full audit and discovery on the National Bank, and I am sure if they do this in a diligent andprofessional manner, they will find the missing links, as they are there, but not yet discovered. In light of the current oil crisis, and the austerity measures proposed to be undertaken by the Government of South Sudan, I strongly recommend that proper investigations be carried out to determine actual truths to the matter at hand.

These false allegations that have been made against me, have caused me and my family to endure a great amount of personalsuffering, public suspicion and abuse, and is widely reported on the internet that I have stolen money from the Government of Southern Sudan. This is apersonal attack against my integrity, and indirectly reflects on the integrityof my family, who have suffered in silence, while protesting my innocence.

I let it be known, that for the sake of this Nation, and from the time I was appointed as the guardian of the Nations finances, I guarded them well, and I thank the late Dr John Garang Mabior and his Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit for having entrusted me with the guardianship of the Nations finances up to the CPA in 2005 and beyond, up to my removal from office in 2007.

I take this opportunity to inform you, the members of the Press, the people of South Sudan,and the International community, that I am not afraid of the Court, and will welcome a full and thorough investigation, conducted with full transparency,that will disclose the full facts and truth behind the discrepancies and missing funds, and I can assure you that I will once again be exonerated, but this time the true corrupt individuals will be exposed by a proper investigation of the facts.

This Nation must stand proud.  We fought a war and won it. We had our referendumand won it 98% and won, and with that we won our Independence.  We must now fight and win our financial war,both here at home and with Khartoum.

Corruption should not be condoned, and that is inaccordance with the wishes of his Excellency the President.
Thank you very much.
 Hon. Arthur Akuien Chol

Ex-Minister Accuses Amum of Taking $30M, Named VP in Scandal

by Mary Ajith Goch & Misuk Moses ǀ 

Arthur Akuein Chol, South Sudan former Finance minister addressing the media in Juba, February 09, 2012 (ST)

JUBA- Former Minister of Finance Arthur Akuien Chol levelled strong accusations against the SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum of receiving 30 Million US dollars from him in his personal account in 2006 and further alleged that the Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny instructed him the same year to purchase vehicles for the Government of Southern Sudan GOSS from Cardinal Company whose price was twice the actual amount.

The Ex-Minister claimed that before he approved the money to be transferred to the SPLM Secretary General’s account he got instruction from what he described as “from above” without stating the name of the person to do so.

The matter was generated by recent discussion of the Audit Report of 2005-6 and the accusation against Chol by the Former Bank Governor Elijah Malok in the Parliament describing Chol as a “thief” at the end of last month, accusation which Chol brushed off.

Chol at a Press Conference in Home and Away yesterday explained that in 2006 a sum of 60, million US dollars was given to GOSS/SPLM by the then Sudan President Al Bashir and sent to GOSS Account and he (Chol) due to instruction “from above” approved $30Million for expenditure out of the 60 Million and he has documents to verify the expenses and then released the other half of $30 Million to Amum to account for it.

“I can account for the $30Million of which I hold the copies of documents because my involvement in this could be reference to the approvals I made having been instructed from above but the other $30, Million was placed in the hands of SPLM SG Pagan Amum as it was paid by the Ministry of Finance directly to his account as once again I had been instructed from above to transfer that amount and Pagan should account for this,” Chol claimed displaying to Reporters photocopies of the authorization letter and cheque issued.

This followed the allegations labelled against Chol that he was corrupt.

“It is unfortunate that I have been pushed to the point where it is necessary for me to stand up and take this opportunity to list out some, if only a few of the transgressions made by few against the public interest of the people of South Sudan,” Chol said in a press conference he organized to “clear” himself from Public about corruption allegations.

Returning to his removal his ministerial position in the Ministry of Finance, he said it was due to the allegations that he purchased the vehicles from the Cardinal Company in which it was not true that he conducted the process alone but that he was instructed by the Vice President to do so.

“I was accused of purchasing vehicles from Cardinal Company at a price twice the actual amount leading to my removal as the Minister of Finance. Well these vehicles were purchased following written instructions from the Vice President Riek Machar, that I should purchase the vehicles from the expensive Cardinal Company for various Ministries, in turn I directed the Undersecretary of Finance to proceed with the transactions and left for Malaysia and Singapore.

Following this I was removed from my Office and my duties were terminated as the Minister of Finance and immediately thereafter I was accused and arrested for corruption but letter I was investigated and tried and there was no evidence of wrong doing as the case was dismissed by Province Judge Malek Mathiang in Juba on 30th September 2009” he asserted

Chol said he acknowledge and commend the Auditor General’s report but challenge that the report was not sufficient to the discovery of the true facts and recommended the Auditor General to do a full audit on the national Bank. “Am sure if they do this in a diligent and professional manner, they will find missing links as they are there, but not yet discovered” he concluded

Efforts by the Citizen to get the Secretary’s General reaction and the Vice President to the allegation were unsuccessful. See the press release inside.

Ex-Finance Minister Denies Corruption Allegations

The South Sudanese Ex-Finance Minister Arthur Akuien Chol has appeared for the first time to speak in public since his dismissal in 2007; to deny all corruption allegations labeled against him and accused the SPLM Secretary General of embezzling $30Million US Dollars.

10 February 2012
Ex-Finance Minister Denies Corruption Allegations
Ex South Sudan finance Minister Arthur Akuien while speaking to the press in Juba [©Gurtong]

By Waakhe Simon Wudu
JUBA, 10th February 2012 [Gurtong] – The South Sudanese Ex-Finance Minister Arthur Akuien Chol has appeared for the first time to speak in public since his dismissal in 2007; to deny all corruption allegations labeled against him and accused the SPLM Secretary General of embezzling $30Million US Dollars.

Akuien’s appearance came under pressure when the National Auditor General’s Financial Year reports for 2005/6 were last week referred to the National Ministry of Justice for prosecution of all civil servants found guilty of squandering public funds.

“I do not believe if sufficient attention was given to facts and I am of the opinion that the Auditor General should do a full audit on the National Bank, and I am sure if they do this in a diligent and professional manner, they will find the missing links,” Akuien told the press in a three page statement.

Akuien was appointed during the then Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), in 2005 as the guardian of the Southern Sudan national treasury and instructed the usage of the government’s finances.

The Auditors’ report accused him of opening personal bank accounts abroad in countries like Geneva in the name of the government. The report also accused him of embezzling $7million US Dollars while his alleged accounts have been freezed by the Khartoum government.

Akuien was also alleged of purchasing government vehicles from a Cardinal Company at a price twice the actual amount. However, he told the press that, “these vehicles were purchased following written instructions from the Vice President of GOSS, Dr. Riek Machar Teny.”

He was also accused of embezzling over 6.2 billion Sudanese Pounds on government’s sorghum purchased to curb famine crisis in the country.

Akuien’s corruption allegations came to light when the former Governor of the Central Bank of South Sudan Elijah Malok exposed his secrets when summoned by the national assembly. He accused Akuien of diverting government funds into his foreign private bank accounts during his time in office.

However, during the press briefing yesterday at the Home and Away hotel in Juba, he declined of any involvement in all the alleged corruption malpractices. But rather accused the SPLM Secretary General Mr. Pagan Amum to be held accountable for the transfer of $30million US Dollars into his accounts, the money that was then released by the Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir.

If the Justice Minister took the legal steps on the referred Auditor’s report, Akuien will be one of the persons to stand in trial. However, he expressed his willingness to cooperate and to join the fight against corruption in the country.

“We must now fight and win our financial war, both here at home and with Khartoum. Corruption shouldn’t be condoned in accordance with the wishes of the President,” Akuien reiterated.

“I am not afraid of the Court and will welcome a full and thorough investigation, conducted with full transparency that will disclose the full facts and truth behind the discrepancies and missing funds.”

“And I can assure you that I will be exonerated – but this time round the true corrupt individuals will be exposed,” Akuien added.

Former Finance Minister Threatens to Expose Corruption in BOSS

by ǀ 09.02.2012

The Former Finance Minister in the then government of Southern Sudan, Arthur Akuein Chol who is set to hold a press conference today to explain the missing money during his era and expose corruption by some of the government officials.

He will be speaking to the press today at Home and Away to explain the missing money to journalists.

As the issue of money said to have been misappropriated during the period 2005-6 raises public concern, Akuein will today give tips of how some of these money disappeared.

He is threatening to expose corruption that happened in former Bank of Southern Sudan and the exchange of money in Rumbek.

Akuein intends to expose to the media how money was used in the Bank of Southern Sudan and other corruption scandals.

The auditor general, Stephen Wondu had released a report that millions of money was swindled in the year 2005-2006 alone. The report evoked questions on the squandered money.

Following the report that led to the weeping of a member of parliament, Athur Akuein is today also set to unveil to the media what went wrong with the money during his era and expose corruption issues including the officials involved.

The South has been warned by countries against corruption and the President of South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit has said that his government is moving towards zero tolerance to corruption.

After the auditors’ report, the public is keen in following up whether the perpetrators will be brought to books or not and watching with keen interest the work of the Anti- Corruption Commission which has started by declaration of assets program.

As we wait for the details from Akuein today, we are yet to see whether serious investigations will be taken into the matter.

South Sudan National Assembly Recommends Auditors’ Reports For Legal Action

The South Sudan National Assembly (SSNA) yesterday resolved that the Auditor General’s report for the fiscal financial year 2005/6 be submitted to the National Ministry of Justice so as to prosecute those found guilty of squandering the public funds.

31 January 2012
SSNA Recommends Auditors’ Reports For Legal Action
The South Sudan National Assembly [File Photo]

By Waakhe Simon Wudu
JUBA, 31st January 2012 [Gurtong] – The South Sudan National Assembly (SSNA) yesterday resolved that the Auditor General’s report for the fiscal financial year 2005/6 be submitted to the National Ministry of Justice so as to prosecute those found guilty of squandering the public funds.

The recommendation follows several days of deliberations on the report after its presentation by the parliamentary committee of Public Accounts.

The parliamentarians were divided as to who should receive the report for legal actions. 6 MPs abstained from voting, 44 voted for the report to be referred to the Anti Corruption Commission after the former South Sudanese Minister of finance A. Akuien is investigated.

Former South Sudanese Central Bank Governor Elijah Malok told the House that, Akuein who was sacked in 2007 as finance minister by the President was responsible for the opening of some foreign accounts abroad in Geneva. Malok also disclosed that, Akuein was involved in diversion of public funds into his personal account.

However, former Justice Minister, currently Minister of Cabinet Affairs Hon. Michael Makwei later influenced many parliamentarians; 68 voted for a motion that the report be referred to the Ministry of Justice for the legal proceedings.

During the first presentation of the Public Accounts Committee after its work on the report, the South Sudanese Minister of Justice told the August House he will not prosecute any person found guilty on the report. This is due to the fact that the Auditor General’s report should have covered all the government institutions.

Many parliamentarians criticised the report saying it is not comprehensive and lack several facts. Others also criticized that the reports were not comprehensive since they dint audit the Presidency, Judiciary and some government institutions.

However, Mr. Stephen Wondu, the Auditor General who was also summoned yesterday to clarify questions by the House informed Parliament that, at the time of the auditing, several of the government institutions had refused to cooperate with the Chamber.

He told the House also that, as far as his work is concerned, professionally he is to report whatsoever he had found and expressed his opinion. He also cited lack of human resource, political will and ignorance among some of the government institutions as barring factors for comprehensive report.

The 2005/6 financial reports of the Auditor General are the first audited reports presented to parliament since the establishment of the government in 2005. Wondu who took over office in 2010 said that, the prevailing situation in which the government was set up then and the system of accounting, transactions and payments he mentioned could not give the Chamber adequate resources and ground to come up with a comprehensive report.

In his opinion on the two reports, he said they do not express fair and transparent usage of the South Sudan public funds.

Parliament passes report of the Public Accounts Committee and Imports and Exports
During the same sitting the August House continued to deliberate and discuss the report of the Committee of Energy and Mining, Commerce and Industry on import and export Bill, 2011 in its second reading by Hon. Henry Dilah Odwer, the chairperson of the committee. The Bill was a result of sitting No. 13/2011 of the first session dated 21st September, 2011 which was tabled by the minister for Justice after the Bill was presented to the August House.

The Bill was referred to the specialized committee in accordance with 99 (1) of the adopted Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly Regulations (2010) for scrutiny of the Imports and Exports Bill, 2011.

After long deliberations and debate, the August House decided to pass the Bill to third reading with observations and amendments and present next day for third and fourth reading due to urgency.

The sitting was chaired by Right Hon. Speaker Gen. James Wani Igga and attended by 212 members. It was also attended by ministers, Auditor General and chairpersons/deputy chairpersons.