News / Africa

South Sudan Violence Hits Oil Industry

  • Members of the South Sudan rebel delegation attend the opening ceremony of South Sudan's peace negotiations, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
  • Taban Deng Gai, left, head of the rebel delegation and South Sudan's leader of the government delegation, Nhial Deng Nhial, attend the opening ceremony of South Sudan's peace negotiations, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
  • Unidentified members of the delegation from the South Sudan government and western observers meet at the Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
  • A displaced mother and her baby, one of the few to have a mosquito net, wake up at a refugee camp, Awerial, South Sudan, Jan. 2, 2014.
  • A young displaced girl carries a bucket of water back to her makeshift shelter at a United Nations compound. The compound has become home to thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • Displaced people gather inside a mosquito net tent as they flee from the fighting between the South Sudanese army and rebels in Bor town, in Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 30, 2013.
  • A displaced woman hangs up laundry on the plastic sheeting wall of a latrine at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • Yared, 2, is held by his mother, Madhn, who fled from the town of Bor a few days ago. She receives medicine for her child at a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) medical tent, at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A young displaced boy rests on the wheel arch of a water truck while others fill containers from it, at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Africa, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A family makes tea outside their makeshift shelter at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A general view of a camp for displaced people set up in a United Nations compound in Bor, South Sudan, Dec. 25, 2013.
  • South Sudan army soldiers hold their weapons as they ride on a truck in Bor, Dec. 25, 2013.

Violence in South Sudan

Days of clashes in South Sudan have hit the country's largest source of revenue as oil production was halted in Unity state after foreign workers fled the oil fields over fears of more fighting in the region.

"Unfortunately, the workers have closed the oil. Nobody closed it from us here," said former army General James Koang Chuol, who defected last week and took control of Bentiu, the capital of Unity state. 

"It is those technicians, fearing what is going on in South Sudan... yesterday they evacuated the area," he  said, adding that production has been declining all week.

A spokesman for the South Sudanese army said Wednesday that government forces are preparing to launch an imminent offensive to recapture the town.

Foreign workers are key to the functioning of South Sudan's oil industry, which provides the country with its only significant export and is the main source of government revenues.

Before a disagreement with Khartoum led to a production shutdown in January 2012, which was only lifted earlier this year, South Sudan produced half a million barrels of crude a day, accounting for 98 percent of government revenues and about 80 percent of gross domestic product, according to the Revenue Watch Institute.

The Unity State oil fields are run by the Greater Pioneer Operating Company, a consortium of Chinese, Malaysian, Indian and South Sudanese interests.

A statement on the website of the Indian company in the consortium says they shut down production four days ago, "due to the adverse security situation." 

The Indian company, ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL), confirms on its website that it and its foreign partners in the consortium have evacuated their personnel from South Sudan.

OVL said the shutdown was only temporary, and "operations will be resumed once the situation is normalized."

The South Sudanese Petroleum Ministry says Unity produced around 15 percent of the country's total oil output before the latest shutdown, which came hard on the heels of Koang's seizure of Bentiu at the weekend. 

'We Are No Longer Loyal to President Kiir'


Koang said he wanted to divert oil revenue away from the government in Juba and had no interest in halting production.

"There is no administration in the country, so the oil money cannot be taken by one side," said Koang, who has declared himself loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar, whom President Salva Kiir accused of orchestrating a failed coup bid which triggered the violence that has rocked South Sudan for 11 days.

"We are no longer on the side of Kiir. We have already decided to break away from his administration," said Koang, citing fears that he and other members of the Nuer ethnic group were being targeted by the government.

Reports from South Sudan say that people are being targeted along ethnic lines, with members of Kiir's ethnic Dinka group and Machar's Nuer group being hunted down and singled out for killing.

Kiir has repeatedly denied that the government is involved in the ethnic-based violence, but acknowledged in a Christmas Eve message that he has received reports that it is happening.

Kiir said in his message that any soldiers found guilty of targeted killings will be arrested and held responsible for their actions.

In a message that was translated into the Dinka and Nuer languages, U.S. President Barack Obama has called for an end to the "Inflammatory rhetoric and targeted violence" in South Sudan, and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said he is "especially worried” by reports of ethnically targeted killings in the conflict.

The United Nations has said thousands of people are likely to have been killed in the 11 days of clashes, although a precise toll is not available.

Tens of thousands have been displaced by the fighting, including some 50,000 who have sought refuge at bases and compounds of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid