Sudan: Stolen Oil

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March 19, 2010: The Government of South Sudan (GOSS) has been complaining for almost four years that the national (northern) government was not dividing oil profits fairly. Several of Sudan's major producing fields lie in the border area between the north and south. Last year an audit of a Chinese oil company operating in Sudanese fields claimed that the Chinese records indicated Sudan was producing more oil than the official figures provided by the northern government. Other sources assert that the government pumped out an extra 12 million barrels of oil, and failed to report between $350 and $400 million in royalty income. The polite term used by the diplomats is under-reporting. The GOSS calls it cheating. The northern government claims its lower figures are accurate.

March 18, 2010: The national government signed another Darfur peace agreement, this time with a new rebel group. The Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) should not be confused with the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). It is an umbrella group which represents several small rebel factions in Darfur. The LJM was formed in February 2010. The Sudan Liberation Army-Wahid faction (also called the SLA-Abdelwahid), however, has not agreed to the peace accord. Relations between the LJM and JEM remain murky. Last month JEM leaders said that the LJM factions should join the JEM in order to establish a united negotiating front with the government. They did not.

March 17, 2010: The national government executed two men who murdered four foreign oil workers in 2004. The oil workers were slain in South Kordofan state. Two of the murdered workers were Chinese.

March 12, 2010: The GOSS reported that a south Sudan military base in Unity state was attacked by a group of nomadic raiders. Three people were killed in the attack, two of them identified as Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers. The attackers were from the Misseriya tribe, which is generally regarded as a pro-northern tribe. Unity state has oil fields. The GOSS is trying to limit the number of guns nomads (generally pastoralists herding cattle) can carry as they move their herds. The south's gun control initiative has caused some additional friction.

March 9, 2010: East Africa's Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) issued a statement encouraging north and south Sudan to continue implementing the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The politics behind the IGAD conference and the statement are obvious; the IGAD is worried that a new civil war will erupt in Sudan. The IGAD consists of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. Kenya played a central diplomatic role in the process leading up to the signing of the 2005 CPA.

March 8, 2010: The national government claimed that the Sudanese Army now controls the Jebel Marra area in Darfur. The army has been fighting rebel groups in the region (primarily the SLA-Wahid faction) for several weeks. A rebel spokesman accused the government of lying and claimed that the SLA-Wahid was still operating in the area.

 

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