south sudan – sudan: vital oilfield takes centre-stage in dispute

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  • mobilize local funds to deepen the gainsrecorded in the past 10 years. Participantsincluded serving and past heads of state,development partners, the civil societygroups, organised private sector and themedia.

    The Congress was organised to mark the10th anniversary of NEPAD (New Partner-ship for Africas Development) and had thetheme: Africas Decade of Change: Acceler-ating NEPAD Implementation throughDomestic Financing. Some participants,including Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi,expressed the belief that as a way of endingover-dependence on external funds to fundNEPAD projects, huge domestic savingscould be mobilized to nance infrastructuredevelopment. (PANA 28 3)

    COOPERATION ANDTRADE

    AFRICA TAIWANPresident Visits Africa

    The aim is to cement ties with itsallies.

    President Ma Ying-jeou on April 15thsaid in Swaziland, the nal stop of his12-day trip to Africa, that his three-nation visit had helped him gain adeeper understanding of Taiwans dip-lomatic allies on the continent, TaipeiTimes reported (17 4). The Presidenthad previously visited Burkina Fasoand The Gambia.

    It was the Taiwanese leaders rst toursince he assumed oce in 2008 and thetrip was aimed at cementing tiesbetween the Asian island nation and itsAfrican allies. President Ma describedit as worthwhile.

    Together with Sao Tome e Principe, thethree countries are among 23 nationsworldwide which recognise Taiwan sinceits 1949 split with China. Sao Tome ePrincipe caused a stir a few days beforethe start of the tour when it announcedits President would not be at hand toreceive President Ma. Manuel Pinto daCosta was said to be visiting Cuba atthe same time. The Taiwanese thendropped Sao Tome e Principe from theschedule but maintained that there wasno problem with the relationshipbetween the two countries, according toAfrica Review (8 4). The matter fol-lowed reports of Sao Tome e Principesrecent participation at an economicforum China hosted in Macau for Por-tuguese-speaking nations.

    AP reported (6 4) Taiwanese ForeignMinistry spokesman James Chang asinsisting that ties between the twonations were stable, pointing out thatbusiness people from the West African

    nation and not government ocialsattended the Macau meeting.

    A number of African countries, includ-ing Gambia and Senegal, have in thepast switched allegiance from one ofthe two neighbours to the other.

    On the economic front, Taiwan shouldconditionally provide assistance toits diplomatic allies in Africa becausetheir economies are still developing andneed foreign aid, Ma said.

    We should try to make others feel weare an international asset rather than aliability by contributing to interna-tional assistance programmes in accor-dance with the norms set by theOrganisation for Economic Co-opera-tion and Development, Ma said.

    Taiwan donated 300 notebook com-puters worth US$300,000 to the south-east African kingdom, Ambassador toSwaziland Peter Tsai announced. Ithas also donated $2.1m (1.6m euros)to Burkina Faso to help it addressproblems caused by the inux of40,000 refugees from Mali (seep. 19479) and $3m to Gambia to helpdeal with a food crisis. (Sources asreferenced in text)

    SOUTH SUDAN SUDANVital Oilfield Takes Centre-stagein Dispute

    Southern forces seize their rivalsmain oil eld, dealing another blowto an economy mired in crisis.

    South Sudans army vowed on April17th to hold their positions in a con-tested oil eld seized from Khartoumsarmy, one week after the outbreak ofbitter ghting that has raised fears of awider war.

    Despite air strikes and a reported coun-ter-attack by Khartoums SudanArmed Forces (SAF) to retake the dis-puted Heglig oil eld, the SouthsSudan Peoples Liberation Army(SPLA) said it would not withdrawfrom the battle zone, AFP reports (17 4).

    The hostilities are the worst since SouthSudans independence from Sudan inJuly 2011, and world powers have con-demned the ghting, as fears grow thatclashes could spread beyond the currentborder conict.

    Fighting broke out in March betweenKhartoum and Juba in the Heglig oileld key to Sudans already strug-gling economy, as it supplied aroundhalf of its oil production before anescalation of violence on April 10th.Correspondents say Sudan, having lost

    most of its oil when the south seceded,will not tolerate losing any more.

    The South has reportedly placed tanksand artillery around oil infrastructurein Heglig, which both sides say belongsto them. Southern army spokesmanPhilip Aguer said Khartoum haddamaged wells as they sought todislodge Southern troops by aerialbombardment.

    Khartoum has launched a wave of airraids on Southern border areas, killingseveral civilians and hitting a UNpeacekeeper base on the 16th in May-om, in the Souths oil-producing Unitystate.

    Khartoum seeks the Souths uncondi-tional withdrawal from Heglig. ButJuba has said it will not pull backunless Khartoum removes its troopsfrom the contested Abyei regionnearby, among other conditions.

    Economic Lifeline

    Questions are being raised in Khar-toum over how easily Southern forcesmanaged to seize Sudans main oileld, dealing another blow to an econ-omy mired in crisis.

    Leaders on both sides have exchangedangry rhetoric accusing each other ofstarting the violence and of wantingwar with Khartoums parliament onthe 16th voting the government ofSouth Sudan an enemy, a move dis-missed by Juba.

    The oileld area is vital to Sudanseconomy, and until April 8th it wasrmly under Khartoums control. A2009 Permanent Court of Arbitrationruling had removed it from the dis-puted Abyei region and placed it inSouth Kordofan in Sudan accordingto the north-south border set in 1956at independence. Several internationalbodies have condemned South Sudanfor taking control of Heglig theAUs Peace and Security Councilcalled it an illegal occupation, sug-gesting it is accepted fairly widelyinternationally that Heglig is part ofSudan.

    In a recent letter to the UN SecurityCouncil, South Sudans acting deputyrepresentative said her country discov-ered in March that Sudan was buildinga new tie-in pipeline from Heglig oilelds in an attempt to siphon oil fromUnity State in South Sudan.

    Meanwhile several news agenciesreported on April 17th that UN Secre-tary-General Ban Ki-moon hadexpressed alarm over reports of abuildup of militia in Abyei as Sudanand South Sudan appeared to edge clo-ser to full-blown conict.

    March 16thApril 15th 2012 Africa Research Bulletin 19475

    A B C

    Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2012.

  • Sudan said on April 17th the cost of anall-out war with South Sudan wouldnot deter it from recapturing Heglig,and that newly tapped oilelds in westKordofan, in Darfur and in the statesof White Nile and Blue Nile would helpto sustain its struggling economy.

    Some analysts believe the outcome ofthe escalating border ghting will bedown to which faltering economy col-lapses rst, rather than by military re-power. The recent ghting over oilpayments and territory has severelyimpacted on the combined crude out-put of both countries.

    As dollars become scarce and the SouthSudanese pound weakens, petrol sta-tions are struggling to pay foreign sup-pliers who truck in fuel for a premiumfrom Kenya and Uganda. South Sudanhas no reneries.

    Motorists in South Sudan queued forhours on April 15th to try to buy pet-rol as stations ran dry due to a lack ofdollars. South Sudan claims it hasenough reserves to hold out for a longtime, but the dollar shortage is drivingup the cost of imports, putting a strainon the economy. It needs to importnearly everything from abroad includ-ing basic food items and fuel. (Sourcesas referenced in text) No quick end to oil rowp. 19439

    Refugee Crisis

    Aid agencies are struggling to keep upwith the food and water needs of over37,000 people in Jamam refugee campwho have ed bombardment and vio-lence in Sudans Blue Nile State.

    Daudi Makamba, a water expert withOxfam, says the agency faces a hugechallenge to provide enough water asboreholes have collapsed, waterholesare dry, and it lacks the means to truckmore than the current 160,000 litresfrom the remaining three boreholesaround 30 km away.

    Oxfam is urging donors to ramp upsupport now, warning that it will bethree times more expensive when therains come and block o roads; short-ages could endanger peoples lives.

    This is going to cause a lot of healthproblems and Im afraid that we willlose a lot of people, especially if rainsood this black cotton soil, AndrewOmale, Oxfams emergency coordinatorat the camp said.

    The international community has notdone enough... it has not focused onthis emergency. These people startedcoming here in November. Up to nowwe have not received enough supportto help the refugees here in Jamam,he said.

    Medecins Sans Frontie`res (MSF) whichis providing over 130,000 litres of watera day to the camp, has also appealedfor aid to be ramped up, and morewater and sanitation partners.

    Aid agencies expect another 40,000when food and water in Blue Nile runsout.

    Over the past few weeks refugees ee-ing violence in parts of Sudan andSouth Sudan have been arriving in Ka-kuma refugee camp in northwesternKenya in large numbers, and aid agen-cies fear the camps capacity couldsoon be exceeded. Kakuma was initiallydesigned to accommodate 100,000 peo-ple, and currently accommodates some91,000, according to the UN RefugeeAgency (UNHCR).

    Since the military clashes began, 500800 refugees from both Sudan andSouth Sudan have been streaming intoKakuma every week over the last fewweeks, said Martin Pepela, refugeeprogramme manager for local NGO,Refugee Consortium of Kenya.

    UNHCR has begun talks with the Ken-yan government on the setting up of anew refugee camp capable of hosting100,000 people.

    One source of refugees is SouthSudans Jonglei State. At least 140,000people have be

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