Posts Tagged ‘republic of sudan’

MAY 8 2012

The new African country, founded in part to escape from the northern government’s violence, is showing some hostility of its own. 

sudan may7 p.jpg

South Sudanese soldiers drive in a truck near the front line in Panakuach, Unity state. / Reuters

                      Some wars have a self-evident logic to them. When U.S. troops first set foot in Afghanistan, there was little doubt about why they were there or what they wanted to do. But the fighting between The Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan, which reached official “war” status when Khartoum formally declared war on its southern neighbor on April 19, belongs to a different category of armed conflict. It’s more like Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia, or Israel’s 2006 incursion into Lebanon, the end product of a long series of calculations and miscalculations, internal politics and external pressures, suspicions legitimate and imagined — a war launched on its own uncontrollable momentum.

Still, this conflict, which has cooled in the few days since the UN Security Council demanded that both sides cease hostilities and enter into negotiations, could have been prevented. When I visited South Sudan in mid-March, knowledgeable individuals described war between the north and south as a serious, though not inevitable, prospect. A non-Arab Sudanese rebel group known as the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North — which Khartoum sees as aided by South Sudan — is fighting the northern army in South Kordofan, Sudan. If the rebels had made dramatic enough gains, one U.S. official had earlier speculated to me, the northern government might attack the South in response. A South Sudanese government official told me that Khartoum wanted to go to war, or at least wanted to appear willing to go to war, in order to pressure the South into making concessions during ongoing negotiations over oil revenues.

Ethnic conflict in Jonglei and Unity States, two provinces in South Sudan, risked throwing much of the new nation into the sort of chaos that the regime in Khartoum, still smarting from the loss of over a third of its territory, was likely to exploit. Abyei and other disputed areas were mentioned as possible flashpoints, but in all of my conversations with officials, scholars, consultants, and civil society figures, the name Heglig — the oil-producing border region that southern troops entered on April 10, sparking the current crisis — was never mentioned. There had even been a recent, diplomatic thaw. Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir was scheduled to visit Juba on April 3 for a presidential-level summit. A soccer match between youth clubs from the countries’ capital cities would even mark the occasion (the summit was canceled on March 26, when border flare-ups began).

So how did it get to this point? From one perspective, the war is the end result of a complex of unresolved issues between north and south. The status of Abyei, a disputed, oil-producing, and mostly non-Arab citythat the northern military practically leveled and depopulated in the summer of 2011, is still undecided. The south has a sizable oil industry that is dependent on northern infrastructure. In January, the Southern government responded to punitively high transit costs imposed by the north — as well as evidence that Khartoum was siphoning oil away from the north-south pipeline without compensating the southern government — by shutting down its entire oil sector. Somewhere between 200,000 and 800,000 southern refugees from the Sudan’s 23-year long civil war still live in Khartoum, and their status has yet to be determined.

Though the two Sudans had gone through the motions of multilateral negotiations, over time, the South became convinced that the north wasn’t negotiating in good faith. It is easy to see why officials in Juba believed that military action was a viable means of changing Khartoum’s calculus. Arguably, Khartoum’s declaration of war was a formality, an official confirmation of the already war-like posture that Bashir has taken towards his southern neighbor since it became independent last July.

After Juba shut down the country’s oil production in January, Khartoum bombed oil wells inside of Southern territory. In November, northern Antonov cargo planes dropped bombs on Yida, a refugee camp for civilians fleeing South Kordofan, that is clearly inside of southern territory. The northern military mounted attacks on several border cities, including Jao and Teshwin, which is near Heglig. And in April, Khartoum moved to strip over 750,000 southern refugees of their citizenship, reneging on an agreement reached just days earlier.

The south entered Heglig on April 10, after nine months of provocation from the north. The United Nations, U.S., and African Union have all declared the seizure “illegal.” The invasion had proven provocative, and even reckless — the South has earned international condemnation while ending near-term hopes for negotiated peace.

South Sudan doesn’t see its invasion as illegal, given the Khartoum government’s aggression over the past year. The South is also convinced that it has a legitimate claim on Heglig, which was ethnically cleansed of its native Dinka population during the Sudanese civil war, and could reasonably be considered disputed territory, according to a report by the International Crisis Group. The northern response has been predictably thuggish: northern warplanes have repeatedly bombed Bentiu, the capital of oil-producing Unity State, and a place that is indisputably inside of the South Sudan, killing several civilians. On April 14, an Antonov was spotted over Juba (according to sources inside the South Sudan, the plane later crashed inside of Southern territory after developing mechanical difficulties). The rhetoric coming from Khartoum has matched the regime’s behavior: Bashir vowed to “liberate” the South Sudan, and to “give them the final lesson by force.”

For the South, war is a sequel to the oil shutoff, which has deprived a suffering northern economy of one of its chief sources of revenue. It’s a means of gaining leverage over an aggressive and seemingly implacable neighbor that has eschewed earnest, diplomatic engagement. For the north, aggression and implacability is an effort on Bashir’s part to appear stronger than he actually is. The northern government faces armed uprisings in Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan, an organized political opposition, international sanctions, multiple International Criminal Court indictments, and an economy that’s on pace to contract 7 percent by the end of the year. The vulnerable Sudanese regime, undoubtedly unnerved by the violent and nonviolent toppling of governments throughout the Arab world, might see war with the south as, literally, politics by other means.

But the north’s war effort could backfire. The Southern military is stronger than many realize — the SPLA is organized, battle-hardened, and, by all accounts, far better equipped than it was when it fought Khartoum during the civil war (unlike the north, the South has no air force, but they do have anti-aircraft weaponry, and succeeded in shooting down at least two northern aircraft since hostilities began). The northern military is managed by regime cronies and demoralized by decades of continuous war. Its repeated failure to retake Heglig might cost the current defense minister his job.

On April 21, the South voluntarily withdrew from Heglig, after holding the area for 10 days, and pushing as far as 25 kilometers into northern territory. It’s possible that the Southern invasion of the region wasn’t meant as a prelude to a long-term occupation, but rather as a reminder to Khartoum that Juba is more than capable of making the north pay for its belligerence.

Maybe this gambit will pay off — or maybe it will result in a massive, inter-state conflict that could badly destabilize two countries that aren’t terribly stable to begin with. Clashes are continuing along the border, as the armies jostle for territory before the upcoming rainy season. The UN is keen on stopping the conflict before it escalates. On May 2, the Security Council unanimously passed a resolution threatening to sanction both governments if they did not immediately cease hostilities and enter into African Union-mediated peace talks within two weeks.

For now, the conflict is a novelty in the long history of north-south violence: a true inter-state war, a fight between regular armies rather than militia groups, and between internationally recognized governments rather than guerilla leaders.

Political independence represents the ultimate responsibility for a people, a means of giving tangible expression to a community’s immediate priorities, as well as its long-term dreams. South Sudan’s leadership is getting a crash course in just how heavy this responsibility is. The war is an ironic sign that the South Sudan is truly a member of the community of nations, empowered to make consequential decisions and to defend its perceived interests — regardless of where these decisions might lead.

The Silence in Sudan

Why did the United Nations stop reporting atrocities in Darfur?


Darfur once captured the world’s attention as a contemporary symbol of the international failure to confront mass atrocities. In recent years, however, it has fallen off the radar screen, as the level of government-sponsored violence has subsided and as other pressing Sudanese crises, including the threat of war between Sudan and South Sudan, have captured the headlines.

But there is another reason you don’t hear much about the troubles in Darfur these days: The United Nations human rights agencies essentially stopped issuing public reports on abuses there three and a half years ago, according to U.N. officials, human rights advocates, and a leaked U.N. report. The sunnier accounts of events in Darfur in some ways reflects the tendency of the U.N. and African Union leadership to trumpet the successes of a peace process that they have helped brokered, and downplay its failures. But the long silence owes much to the Sudanese government practice of intimidating U.N. officials and independent aid workers into remaining quiet or minimizing government violations — by threatening possible expulsion or harassment on the ground.

Indeed, the U.N.’s reticence to report publicly on rights abuses intensified after the Sudanese government expelled 13 relief organizations in March 2009, heightening fears that open criticism of the regime could trigger a swift crackdown on outsiders. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has not issued a single report on abuses in Darfur, Sudan, since January 2009, when it documented government killings of displaced Darfurians back in the Kalma camp for internally displaced peoples (IDPs) in August 2008.

The U.N.-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), which includes staff from the high commissioner’s office, has also been largely silent. A group of three former U.N. experts, meanwhile, recently wrote a confidential report claiming that the U.N. mission in Darfur has minimized critical reporting of government abuses, downplaying a series of attacks against the Zaghawa tribe last year that displaced 70,000 people, and which amounted to ethnic cleansing.”There has indeed been a drop-off in the number of public human rights reports produced by UNAMID over the past couple of years, and it is something we have been concerned about and have been raising with the team on the ground,” Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner, told me. Colville declined to elaborate on why the U.N. had stopped issuing the human rights reports it had periodically published on Darfur until the beginning of 2009.

U.S. officials and human rights advocates acknowledge that the nature of violence in Darfur has changed since the bloodiest phase from 2003 to 2005 of a government counterinsurgency campaign that has never entirely ended and that has led to the death of more than 300,000 people and the displacement of nearly three million. A peace treaty between Chad and Sudan has undercut the military position of one of Darfur’s main rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement. There is at least a peace agreement in place now, that while not exactly delivering peace, has created a political process to channel some of the region’s more violent impulses. But that doesn’t meant that the problems have gone away: The region continues to be plagued by intertribal warfare, banditry, and crime.

Meanwhile, Khartoum continues to kill civilians through a campaign of aerial bombardment, as it has recently attacked the central Darfurian region of Jebel Marra. It also imports weapons in violation of U.N. sanctions, and it provides military support to favored militias in an effort to root out possible bases of support for rebel forces now bent on toppling the government. Indeed, the three former U.N. experts documented evidence that Khartoum — which traditionally supported Arab militia in Darfur — trained, armed, and organized local non-Arab tribes for the first time to fight anti-government Zaghawa rebels.

Early last month, Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, privately raised concerns about the lack of reporting on rights abuses in Darfur in a private meeting with Ibrahim Gambari, UNAMID’s representative. More recently, the United States, Britain, and other European powers also pressed the U.N. chief peacekeeper, Hervé Ladsous, in a closed-door Security Council session to step up reporting on rights abuses, arguing that developments on the ground still require public reporting on abuses by government or rebel forces in Darfur.

“From a U.S. point of view, we’re hardly sanguine about the security situation” in Darfur, Rice told reporters on April 26. “We see that the violence is escalating in four or five regions of Darfur, and we’re particularly concerned about North Darfur and Jebel Marra.”

The partial reporting moratorium comes at a time when media interest in Sudan has waned, or at least shifted from Darfur to other parts of Sudan, including South Sudan, which declared its independence last July 2011, culminating a landmark agreement that ended a 28-year civil war between Khartoum and the southerners. The nascent country has since been plagued by violent flare-ups in places like Abyei, South Kordofan, and elsewhere along the border, raising fears that Khartoum and South Sudan might again be on the brink of war, this time a battle between two well-armed independent nations.

The U.N. has recently sought to portray Darfur as a relative success story, highlighting a dip in violence from the worst stages of the civil war. The U.N. estimates that 109,000 internally displaced Darfuris have recently returned to their homes, and 31,000 refugees have returned from Chad. “What we have witnessed is a decline in direct confrontations between Sudanese forces and armed movements in 2011 compared with 2010,” Gambari recently told reporters. The overall numbers of internally displaced, he said, has fallen from 2.8 million to as low as 1.5 million.

In a lengthy telephone interview, Gambari defended the U.N. mission’s reporting on human rights, saying that its human rights section provides daily, weekly, and monthly reports to peacekeeping officials at U.N. headquarters in New York and to rights experts at the U.N. high commissioner’s office in Geneva. He also denied suggestions by rights groups that the U.N. had bowed to Sudanese government pressure in withholding reporting on human rights.

“We report everything that happens in Darfur in daily situation reports,” including human rights violations, he said. “We send reports to headquarters every day, every week, every month. Headquarters does not seem to have developed a mechanism for sharing these with member states.”

But he said in an effort to address Rice’s concern the U.N. will begin sharing monthly reports on human rights abuses with member states. “We can put that together,” he said. “There is no real inhibition on the part of ourselves [to provide additional reporting on rights abuses] and no pressure on the part of the [Sudanese] government.”

Gambari said the human rights situation in Darfur should be viewed from the perspective of a trouble spot where “the war is winding down” and life is “beginning to emerge from conflict.” The United Nations, he said, is shifting its focus to capacity building, helping to create institutions that promote the rule of law. “We feel UNAMID can be more effective in addressing human rights through capacity building. But that doesn’t mean we’re not amenable to more reporting.”

U.S. officials, human rights advocates, European diplomats, and independent U.N. researchers say the effort to assess conditions in Darfur has been complicated by the U.N.’s failure to provide a more authoritative, or reliable, account of the human rights situation in Darfur. But they say that they regularly pick up reports from the field that government-sponsored violence continues.

“Still we do receive reports from sources inside Darfur indicating the war architecture and tools of repression are very much intact,” said Jehanne Henry, the Darfur researcher for Human Rights Watch. “This week, for example, people from Jebel Marra reported to us that the government bombing in Jebel Marra killed civilians and caused many to flee their homes.”

Henry said the Sudanese government has applied pressure on the United Nations and others to limit rights reporting on rights abuses, and that its efforts “have effectively muzzled the AU/UN mission into silence.” She added, “Humanitarian aid agencies, traditionally a reliable source of informally reporting on rights abuses, also do not speak out [for] fear of being kicked out of Darfur altogether.”

Three former members of a U.N. expert panel investigating sanctions violations in Darfur claimed a report, first divulged by Africa Confidential, that the U.N. mission has downplayed or ignored evidence of abuses by government-backed militia. The team, which resigned late last year over a dispute with the panel’s chairman, produced an unofficial report that claims UNAMID officials failed to adequately detail a large massacre by Sudanese forces and government backed militia in eastern Darfur, even though the Sudanese government itself cited the killings in one of its own reports, according to the experts’ report.

The researchers, Jerome Tubiana of France, Michael Kelly of Britain, and Claudio Gramizzi of Italy, examined events in the area of Shangal Tobay, where Sudanese forces and government-backed militias drove tens of thousands of Zaghawa tribespeople from their homes, killing large number of civilians, during 2010 and 2011.

The plight of the Zaghawa, who have played the role of victim and victimizer, underscores the complexity of violence in Darfur. The Zaghawa first began settling in the Shangal Tobay area during the late 1940s, arriving in far greater numbers in the 1970s following a severe drought in their northern homelandaccording to a history of the region presented in the U.N. experts’ report.

Many of the group’s men filled the ranks of a key faction of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) — headed by Zaghawa rebel leader Minni Minawi — which took up arms against the government in 2003. Soon, they emerged as the dominant power in Shangal Tobay, a community with as many as 30 ethnic groups. A 2006 peace accord with the government solidified their control over the area. Under their rule, the Zaghwawa thrived while other tribes “suffered abuses (including taxations, arrests, and murders) at the hands of the rebels,” according to the report.

But the peace accord collapsed in 2010, driving the SLA fighters into hiding, abandoning Shangal Tobay, and exposing the region’s Zaghawa community to reprisals. Sudanese government forces, meanwhile, recruited a group of non-Arab militias that had bridled under the Zaghawa’s rule and used them to carry out a series of systematic attacks against the Zaghawa between December 2010 and June 2011. The U.N. mission, which was stationed in Shangal Tobay, was unable to provide protection for thousands of Zaghawa civilians that had sought protection, forcing them to flee the town.

“This cycle of violence provoked one of the most significant displacements that Darfur has experienced since the height of the conflict between 2003 and 2005, with the reported registration of around 70,000 IDPs,” according to the report. “Members of the panel believe that the cycle of violence in eastern Darfur in the first half of 2011 was characterized by ethnic cleansing targeting one particular group.”

“Members of the panel also found that violent incidents against Zaghawa civilians were on occasion not passed up the UNAMID reporting chain in the same way as violence committed by Zaghawa rebels and militia,” the report said. “Members of the panel also found that events they themselves witnessed alongside UNAMID personnel were not fully reported in UNAMID Patrol Reports or Situation reports.”

The panel accompanied a UNAMID patrol on May 22, 2011, as they came upon the small Zaghawa village of Nyortik in flames. The panel members believed the village was burnt to the ground by a pro-government militia in retaliation for the killing of a truck driver that was linked to the militia. But they said the UNAMID officials simply took the militia leaders’ word that the Zaghawa had burnt their owntown to the ground — and then failed to even report the incident in a “team site patrol report” shared with a wider circle of mission staff.

The panel’s experts argue that UNAMID’s handling of the event was consistent with a pattern of bias in its reporting, which tended to ignore government abuses while highlighting those carried out by the rebels. It also undercut the ability of U.N. and African Union policymakers to gain a clear picture of what was happening on the ground. In the end, the truck driver’s killing ultimately sparked one of the worst outbreaks of violence in Darfur in years.

In a possible reprisal attack, pro-government militias attacked the Zaghawa stronghold of Abu Zerega on May 31, 2011, looting the tribe’s livestock, before calling in Sudanese government reinforcements. By the end, the government and pro-government militia had executed some 18 Zaghawa civilians. On June 17, Zaghawa rebels carried out a reprisal raid on Shangal Tobay, advancing by car and camel, killing 19 people, including 6 Sudanese soldiers and militia members.

But the United Nations responded slowly, waiting 12 days to conducting an investigation into the massacre at Abu Zerega, which was only a few kilometers from a U.N. outpost. The delay allowed the perpetrators an opportunity to hide or bury the bodies. In the end, UNAMID concluded simply that the 18 victims had been “allegedly killed/disappeared” while the government’s own investigation concluded that a “total of 18 Zaghawa cviliians had been summarily executed.”

“Members of the panel believe that in under-reporting or deliberately omitting to report some incidents in the area of Shangal Tobay, UNAMID prevents itself [from having a] clear understanding of the chain of violence.”

Whatever the reason, the ramifications are severe. The U.N. mission gave the Security Council little reason to suspect a government role in the massacre of the Zaghawa last May. Indeed, in July 2011, the U.N. secretary general’s report to the Security Council — the main vehicle for reporting on developments in Darfur — said nothing about the role of Sudanese soldiers or pro-government militias in the massacre of the Zaghawa in Abu Zerega.

But it did link the Zaghawa rebels to the reprisal attack.

The U.N. stance, according to the panel members, “risks exacerbating existing perceptions of UNAMID as insufficiently neutral: perceptions which may post a threat both to UNAMID’s own security and to the eastern Darfur area’s peace and security.” Even worse, it has served to erase Darfur from the map of global trouble spots competing for the world’s attention.

15 March 2012

The 15th of March 2012 is a historic day in the life of the University of Northern Bahr El Ghazal. On this memorable day, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit opened the new Administration building on Mathiang’s Campus. The building houses Vice Chancellor’s office and that of the Principal, as well as offices for Personnel Secretary, Financial Controller, and General Administrative Staff. The building also contains a newly refurbished computer lab and English language training lecture room. Two rooms are available to accommodate staff offices or used as lecture halls. The day also marked the official launch of short courses in English and IT offered by the University for capacity- building in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State.

Our joys are multiplied because on this occasion, we are very honoured to have our President and the Chancellor of the University of Northern Bahr El Ghazal and indeed the Chancellor and custodian of all South Sudan universities, to open the new Administration building and declare the start of short courses on our campus for the first time since the creation of this institution in May 2010 – when the Vice Chancellor was appointed and University Act 2010 was passed in June 2010 by National Legislative Assembly, the Republic of Sudan.

It is a historic moment in the life of the University because with the stamp of approval of our President and the Chancellor of the University of Northern Bahr El Ghazal, the lingering stigma and the ghost that has been chasing us in this University since our country’s independence in July 2011; namely that this University and others like it, were Bashir’s, Inqaz’s, or 2010 elections’ gimmick or machinations; and hence, according to such views, the new universities that were created in the same year are not worth the attention and support they deserve from our government. This stigma, we believe, will henceforth be buried once and for all.

Today, with of the approval of the President of the Republic, the University of Northern Bahr El Ghazal is hundred percent a South Sudan public university! It no longer symbolizes bondage and oppression, but that of freedom. It is no longer part of our developmental problems, but part of solution to many of our developmental challenges. It is no longer a “project” to be shelved away from sight of government’s radars and current priorities in order to rot and be eaten up by moth; but has become an institution which is here to stay and to carry out its designated mission, with full budget and moral support of our government. Indeed, this is a turning point for good for the future of higher education in our country because this is a move in the right direction and a sign of visionary leadership.

There is no nation in the history of humanity that has strove hard to provide more opportunities for its citizens to earn university degrees and regrets it. Not once, never.

Our vision at the University of Northern Bahr El Ghazal is to establish a learning institution that will provide ultimate university experience to students and faculty through the excellence of its educational and research programmes.

While setting up the new University, it is our vision to create an urbanizing force in a rural or semi-urban region generating employment, changing lifestyles and raising aspirations.

Since creation of the University, we have drafted our academic regulations and designed curricula for 9 academic programmes and submitted them to specialized committees in the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (the Republic of Sudan) in June 2011, for four proposed Faculties which are:
• Faculty of Architecture and Physical Planning
• Faculty of Petroleum Engineering and Earth Sciences
• Faculty of Health Sciences and Medical Technology
• Faculty for Preparatory, Human Resource Development, and Vocational Studies

We are also working towards including education and agriculture programmes among the programmes that will be established in the next five years in order of national development priorities and availability of resources for setting up a particular programme.

Before concluding, we would like to express our greatest thanks to the President of the Republic, Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit for opening the University officially.

We would also like to publicly acknowledge and express deepest appreciation for the unwavering support offered to the University by the Governor of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State, Lt. Gen. Paul Malong Awan.

Finally, the University administration would like to take this opportunity to appeal to the Ministry of Higher Education and Science and Technology, the Republic of South Sudan, to respect the independence and autonomy of universities and to be seen to facilitate their progress.
God bless South Sudan.
University Administration

JUBA | Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:16pm EST

(Reuters) – Chinese-Malaysian oil firm Petrodar, the main oil operator in South Sudan, denied on Sunday it had helped Sudan seize any southern oil, after Juba accused Chinese firms of cooperating with Khartoum in a row between the two countries.

South Sudan is locked in a conflict with Sudan over oil payments.

The landlocked nation took three-quarters of Sudan’s oil production when it became independent in July but needs to export crude through a northern pipeline and a Red Sea port.

Both states have failed to agree on a fee Juba needs to pay, prompting Khartoum last month to seize at least three southern oil shipments at the Red Sea terminal. South Sudan has shut down its entire output of 350,000 bpd.

In the past few days, several southern officials have accused unspecified Chinese oil firms of helping Sudan seize southern oil.

The government started an investigation last week and threatened to expel Chinese firms if they were found guilty in cooperating with Sudan.

Petrodar, which pumped 230,000 bpd in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state until the shutdown, said on Sunday it had always complied with instructions from Juba and had no role in seizing southern oil at the Red Sea terminal.

It said it had given staff orders not to cooperate during the seizing of the three shipments which was overseen by Khartoum’s security services.

“Petrodar does not know the destination nor the buyers of the three shipments confiscated by the Republic of Sudan,” it said in a statement.

The firm also said it had always given daily updates for production and active wells after Oil Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau had questioned Petrodar’s output figures.

“The daily number of active wells varies from day to day based on operations, well maintenance and work-over activities,” Petrodar said.

Dau had said 40,000 bpd were missing at the key Palouge oil field but Petrodar blamed water separation during pumping for the difference.

Petrodar is a consortium of mainly Chinese state firms Sinpoec, Chinese National Petroleum Corp and Malaysia’s Petronas. It runs oil fields in South Sudan and also an export pipeline through Sudan.

South Sudan’s accusations have puzzled Western diplomats since China is the biggest buyer of its oil which make up 98 percent of state revenues.

Petrodar also said it would take up 40 days to six months or even longer to restart oil production, putting doubts over government statements that oil output could be restarted anytime.

South Sudan are due to resume oil talks sponsored by the African Union in Addis Ababa on Thursday but diplomats see no breakthrough as positions are wide apart.

Sudan wants $1 billion in back payments plus $36 a barrel, while Juba has said it is willing to pay around $1 a barrel.

Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has warned the conflict could lead to war. North and south fought for decades in a civil war that killed 2 million people.

(Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by David Cowell)

China-Malaysia firm rejects S.Sudan accusations in oil row
JUBA (Reuters) – Chinese-Malaysian oil firm Petrodar, the main oil operator in South Sudan, denied on Sunday it had helped Sudan seize any southern oil, after Juba accused Chinese firms of cooperating with Khartoum in a row between the two countries.

Lakes state hosts a meeting to discuss cattle rustling in South Sudan
Sudan Tribune
February 19, 2012 (JUBA) – The vice president of South Sudan Riek Machar together with governor of Lakes, Unity and Warrap states all converged in Lakes state on Saturday morning to discuss cattle rustling and border issues affecting neighbouring 

South Sudanese protest deportation outside UNHCR office
Jerusalem Post
By BEN HARTMAN 02/19/2012 11:32 Six weeks ahead of their deportation from Israel, a group ofSouth Sudanese held a rally outside the United Nations High Committee for Refugees office in Tel Aviv, where they called on the UNHCR to help postpone the 

South Sudan VP hosts peace talks between Lake, Unity and Warrap States
Sudan Tribune
By Bonifacio Taban Kuich February 18, 2012 (MAPELS) – South Sudan’s Vice President Riek Machar Teny urged on Saturday the three neighboring states governors of Warrap, Unity and Lake States to work to create peaceful borders and relations…

South Sudan halves spending after oil shutdown row
JUBA — South Sudan slashed non-salary government spending by half, weeks after halting the oil production that forms 98 percent of its budget in a bitter row with former foes in north Sudan, officials said Sunday. But the government of the oil-rich 

In South Sudan, oil shutoff is a matter of national pride
Sacramento Bee
By ROBYN DIXON JUBA, South Sudan – To outsiders, the move appears suicidal, a recipe for ruining the economy and possibly returning to war. But on the streets of Juba, the capital of South Sudan, the decision to turn off the flow from oil wells that 

S. Sudanese on deportation: Who’ll protect us?
Jerusalem Post
By BEN HARTMAN 02/19/2012 11:41 Six weeks ahead of deportation from Israel, South Sudanesegroup protest gov’t decision outside UNHCR office. By Ben Hartman Six weeks before they will face deportation from Israel, a group of South Sudanese held a rally 
Sudan mourns musical icon Wardi
Just over a year ago, he told AFP that the 2005 peace deal which ended 22 years of civil war with southern Sudan had encouraged his return with hope for “the unity of all Sudan.” But, speaking with sadness just before South Sudan voted overwhelming for

How to make enemies 101

                                                       By PaanLuel Wel.

This is not a well thought-out move by the Republic of Sudan. While “for all countries except Israel”–one that is featured prominently in my old Sudanese passport which I still carry..was justified on the never-ending Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is just plain hard to account for the new dogma of “for all countries except South Sudan.”

Responding on what was printed by Khartoum on their passport which says “for all countries except Israel and South Sudan”, Dr Marial stated that Sudan and South Sudan are not enemies. He added, however, that it is their decision. He also cautioned that Khartoum government should also know that Misseriya and Rezigat are grazing in South Sudan territory.

After all, South Sudan and Sudan, just as it was in 1956 when Sudan got her independence from Great Britain, are historically, economically, culturally and politically linked forever by their shared past. For the NCP-led Khartoum government to champion the preposterous idea of “to all countries except South Sudan” when President Bashir (plus other government officials) would be jetting between Khartoum and Juba is just unrealistic, ill-informed and impractical.
                      If freeing oneself from servitude and oppression was such an unimaginable crime in the eyes of the NCP, then they better hurry up and petition the UK government to sanction the same  “to all countries except Sudan” directives on the Sudanese. Otherwise, it is just a hubristic move meant for imagined domestic audience perceived to be baying for the blood of “Southerners” who dare to break away from the paradisaical Islamic and Arabic Republic of the Sudan.
                  Let’s wait and see what punishment, if any, would be imposed on the nomadic Misseriya and Rezigat whose seasonal movement make South Sudan part of their grazing land. Will the NCP place morality police on the border to effect the new law? You bet!!                                                          

Juba, South Sudan:

The Republic of Sudan has suddenly blocked the transportation of South Sudan’s crude oil to the international market. On Christmas Eve all loaded cargo was prevented from leaving, while other cargo was not allowed to load.

Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Minister of Petroleum and Mining Stephen Dhieu Dau said two ships carrying 1.6 million barrels of Dar Blend originating from South Sudan were stopped from leaving the port, and an additional 0.6 million Barrels of Dar Blend were prevented from loading. Yet another two more other ships were prevented from landing at Port Sudan to take possession of 1.2 million barrels of Nile Blend purchased from South Sudan. He strongly condemned the act of preventing loaded ships from leaving the port. “This is unlawful and a violation of international laws and norms.”

The Under Secretary of the Ministry of Information Garang says the blockage has caused the Government of South Sudan to lose a huge sum of money. “At the cost of $118 per barrel, the 1.6 million barrels of Nile Blend would have fetched a huge amount, while each barrel of Dar Blend would secure us $165 million,” he said.

Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau further accused the Government of Sudan of trying to steal the oil resources of South Sudan. The government in Khartoum ordered the foreign oil companies to divert all of South Sudan’s Nile Blend crude oil entitlements for December to the Khartoum and El Obeid refineries. They also ordered 550,000 barrels of Dar Blends Crude oil entitlement for December to be delivered to a Sudan buyer.

“What right have they got to take our oil to sell it to others? Where does this happen in the world?” asked Marial Benjamin the Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

It was also reported that the Government of Sudan also intends to divert 13 percent of Dar Blend oil through its new tie-in pipeline they started constructing between the Petrodar pipeline and the Khartoum refinery.

“Any diversion of South Sudan’s oil without our consent is theft”, said Stephen Stephen Dhieu Dau. “And what right do they have to divert our oil to their refineries”? Marial Benjamin questioned.

To this day, it is not yet clear as to what dishonest plans the Government of Sudan had for the oil it had ordered for diversion to its domestic refineries. There are speculations that Sudan planned to sell South Sudan’s oil to a third party or attempted to “launder” the stolen oil by redirecting it to its own refinery and instead selling its own crude on the world market.

The Government of South Sudan vows to take legal actions against anyone who purchases Sudan’s crude while South Sudan’s oil is being stolen at the same time. “Such illegal acquisitions will find no refuge from South Sudan’s legal authorities and will enjoy no future business with South Sudan,” Stephen Dhieu Dau said.

“We are two different states and each state has got sovereignty over its own resources,” said Marial Benjamin the official spokesman of the government of South Sudan. “There is nowhere in the whole world where a country can interfere and decide on the resources of another country. [For example,] Iraq tried to invade Kuwait and take its oil. The resultant effect of which was clearly seen. If our brothers in Khartoum are thinking that they have another Kuwait which is South Sudan, then they have missed the point.”

By. Yobu Annet

Copyright 2006-2010 The Diplomatic Courier™. All rights reserved.

We have no guarantee that oil flowing through the Republic of Sudan will reach its intended destination.  We cannot allow assets which clearly belong to the Republic of South Sudan to be subject to further diversion, says President Kiir

[Juba, South Sudan] – By Larco Lomayat      January 23, 2012

While addressing remembers of the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly as well as South Sudanese citizens in Juba on Monday on the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) decision to stop the oil flow through the pipelines on the territory of the Republic of Sudan, the Oresident of the Republic of South Sudan, Gen. Salva Kiir says “During the second Council of Ministers of 2012 meeting on January 20, we unanimously decided that all oil operations in South Sudan should be halted with immediate effect and no crude oil belonging to South Sudan shall flow through the pipelines on the territory of the Republic of Sudan.  


The government stands ready to handle this situation; however, we are mindful that it cannot be done without the collective support of this august house.  We have reached this point only after exhausting all avenues including my sending envoys to Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia last week.  The presidents of those countries reached out to President Bashir to ask him to stop taking unilateral decisions regarding our oil.

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President Kiir Addressing Members of the
South Sudan Legislative Assembly
Photos by Larco Lomayat,
January 23, 2012
Below is the Full Message of President Kiir:
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Statement by H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan
to the National Legislature on the current oil crisis

January 23, 2012


Right Honorable Speaker and

Honorable Members of the National Legislature

I am here today to brief this august house about the current crisis in our oil industry. The crisis has reached a stage that is unacceptable. On the 6th of December  2011, the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Sudan informed our Minister of Petroleum that based on their Petroleum Transit and Service Fees Act of 2011, as from 25 December 2011, all shipments will be allowed to leave Port Sudan only after paying fees amounting to 32.2 dollars per barrel.

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Immediately following this warning, they proceeded to block four ships with 3.5 million barrels of Dar blend from sailing out of Port Sudan.  They have further prevented four other ships from docking at Port Sudan. These ships have purchased 2.8 million barrels of Nile and Dar blends but are unable to collect their purchases.  To date, these eight vessels remain under the control of the Government of Sudan with oil worth 630 million dollars.

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In addition to that, they have forcibly taken another 185 million dollars’ worth of oil.  In total, the revenue that the Government of Sudan has looted since December amounts to approximately 815 million dollars.  Furthermore, they have completed constructing a tie-in pipeline designed to permanently divert 120,000 barrels per day f South Sudan oil, which is almost 75 percent of our daily entitlements, to their refineries in Khartoum.

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Your Excellences

The diversion of South Sudan crude oil has disrupted revenues that are vital to the security and welfare of the people of South Sudan. At this time, we have no guarantee that oil flowing through the Republic of Sudan will reach its intended destination.  We cannot allow assets which clearly belong to the Republic of South Sudan to be subject to further diversion.

Therefore, during the second Council of Ministers of 2012 meeting on January 20, we unanimously decided that all oil operations in South Sudan should be halted with immediate effect and no crude oil belonging to South Sudan shall flow through the pipelines on the territory of the Republic of Sudan.

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The government stands ready to handle this situation; however, we are mindful that it cannot be done without the collective support of this august house.  We have reached this point only after exhausting all avenues including my sending envoys to Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia last week.  The presidents of those countries reached out to President Bashir to ask him to stop taking unilateral decisions regarding our oil.

The response from Bashir is that he will not stop taking oil until we pay the exorbitant amount of 32.2 dollars per barrel, something that is completely out of international norms and a precedence that we are unwilling to set.

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Insomuch as the duration of revenue disruption is unknown and to ensure the continued operation of our national government and to provide services for our people, we will need to find other sources of funding.

In doing so, I have already instructed the Ministry of Finance to initiate contingency plans for revenue collection and allocation. This will accelerate the increase in collections of non-oil revenues. It also will prioritize the allocation of existing revenue, allowing us to make the most of what we have.   The Ministry of Finance will also look into other options for replacing the lost revenue.  On existing cash reserves, rest assured that the government can operate for the immediate future, depending on which cuts are made.

Your Excellences

The safety, security and health of our citizens remain our priorities. Whatever austerity measures are required, we are confident that we can continue to meet critical obligations for national security and public welfare.

Meanwhile, we will continue to do everything possible to resolve the impasse with Sudan and to restore the flow of South Sudan crude oil. We remain in intensive discussions, in coordination with the African Union and our allies, to arrive at an agreement that is fair to both parties.

To date, however, the Sudanese government has refused to negotiate in good faith. Given our history with the administration of President Bashir, we realize that, unfortunately, we must prepare for a disruption of revenue that could last many months. However, I want to assure the people of South Sudan that all measures will be taken to ensure that any disruption is minimal.


Your Excellences

This crisis comes at a period that we have internal challenges, particular the recent tribal conflict in Jonglei State.    It is our collective responsibility to manage this situation with patience and perseverance. This is a time when we as South Sudanese need to speak with one collective voice and avoid inciting statements which will further fuel the situation.

For this reason, I call upon this august house to support the decision of the Council of Ministers to stop the flow of oil and search for alternative sources of funding to manage government projects.  I have no doubt that this august house will seriously and critically consider all available options and make the appropriate resolutions in the best interest of the Republic of South Sudan immediately.

Together, as South Sudanese, we will endure this hardship. We are a nation built on resilience, vigilance and pride.  Through discipline and focus, I am confident that our young nation will emerge stronger and more united.

Thank you and God bless you all. 

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Stop Dealing with Thieves, Say the People of South Sudan

[Juba, South Sudan] – By Larco Lomayat    Monday, January 23, 2012

During a Peaceful Procession on Monday from Juba University to the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly in Support of the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) resolution to stop oil flow through the Republic of Sudan, the people of South Sudan chanted “Stop Dealing with Thieves.

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President Kiir Addressing the People of South Sudan in front of
the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly
Photos By Larco Lomayat
January 23, 2012

Here below are some of pictures taken during the Procession and while the President is addressing the people of South Sudan in Juba.

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