Two Pro-Government Militias Fight Over the Oil Fields, Causing Famine
The oil fields in Western Upper Nile are crucial to the government=s hopes for economic recovery. In 1998, construction was completed on the pipeline to carry the crude to refineries in the north59Cjust such a scheme as in the early 1980s provoked strong protests by southerners.60
Indeed, the SPLA regards the oil exploration as one of the reasons for the present war. An SPLA spokesperson said, AThe National Islamic Front government is trying to exploit the oil to strengthen its grip of domination over the Sudanese people. The oil fields remain a legitimate military target, and we will seek every possible way to deny the NIF=s exploitation of the resources . . . for its own ideological purposes.@61 The NDA confirmed that its leadership decided to consider companies operating in oil and gold extraction to be legitimate military targets.62
A consortium including Malaysian, Canadian, British, Argentinean, German, and Chinese companies is responsible for the $1.6 billion oil development scheme.63 Energy and Mining Minister Awad Jazz said that the country would be self-sufficient in oil in 1999, saving some $450 million a year in oil import bills.64 The pipeline from Unity field to a new terminal to be built at Port Sudan on the Red Sea would have an initial capacity of 150,000 barrels per day, to be expanded to 250,000 bbl/d by 2002.65
That this fabulous potential for oil wealth exists side by side with a famine that affects more than 150,000 people in Western Upper Nile is no accident. It is the consequence of government desire to establish control over the area by using militiasCsince 1983Cto loot and attack and displace the local population. The 1998 Western Upper Nile famine has been largely the product of unrestrained attacks on the civilian population by two pro-government militias, both headed by Nuer commanders. One is the SSDF, termed an army rather than a militia, which is supposed to incorporate all former SPLA fighters and factions who switched their allegiance to the government, and incorporate other southern pro-government militias that were never rebels. The SSDF is headed by Riek Machar, the chairman of the South Sudan Coordinating Council, the government body established to govern the government-controlled areas of the south.
The other militia involved in the fighting in Western Upper Nile is that belonging to Paulino Matiep, an Anyanya II commander of a Nuer militia based around Bentiu, who joined Riek=s forces in 1992 after Riek had parted company with the SPLA and its leader, John Garang.
The fighting between the two forces was over political and military control of Unity state and the oil fields. A side effect of this struggle has been to displace more civilians from the oil-rich areas.
Background to Oil Development in Southern Sudan
Oil has been an important element in north-south relations since the Bentiu oil field was discovered in 1978, when Nimeiri was president and the Addis Ababa autonomy agreement for the south that settled the first civil war was in effect (1972 - 83). Following the discovery, the central government took several measures which southerners believed were intended to cheat them of benefits of the southern oil wealth to which they were entitled under the Addis Adaba agreement.
One change that raised southern suspicions in 1978 was the rapid replacement of 130 southern soldiers in the Bentiu military garrison, commanded by a Dinka army officer, Captain Salva Kiir,66 with 600 soldiers from the north, as if to assert physical control over the potential oil fields, according to a leading southern politician who witnessed these events.67 In 1980 a second oil field was discovered in the Bentiu Area Council two hours by vehicle north of Bentiu; it was given the Arabic name of Heglig (thorn tree), and to southerners that was another attempt to assert northern control over southern assets. In that same year, officials in Khartoum tried to transfer the rich oil, agricultural, and grazing lands of Upper Nile and Bahr El Ghazal to the northern province of Southern Kordofan merely by redrawing the map. Southerners protested in the streets, a commission was appointed, and President Nimeiri accepted its recommendation to stay with the 1956 boundaries, leaving the oil fields in the southern mostly Nuer province of Upper Nile.68
Paulino Matiep=s Warlord Role vis-a-vis the Oil Fields
Paulino Matiep, a Bul Nuer from Bentiu, has been a militia power in Western Upper Nile for at least two decades. The Bul Nuer area of Western Upper Nile, according to a scholar of the Nuer, was Ahistorically one of the most isolated and economically >underdeveloped= Nuer regions.@69 The Heglig oilfield, however, is in the Bul Nuer area. Paulino was never in the SPLA under its commander John Garang, but was a warlord who has since about 1984 been affiliated with the Khartoum government, which supplied his arms. Although the first civil war was settled in 1972 with a regional autonomy agreement for the south, local disputes in Upper Nile (and Bahr El Ghazal70) in the late 1970s and early 1980s led to the formation of a number of anti-government guerrilla groups all calling themselves Anyanya II, after Anyanya, the southern separatist rebel movement that fought the government in the first civil war from 1955-72.71 Paulino formed an Anyanya II militia in 1978 in Bilpam, Ethiopia, according to one of his soldiers.72
Pursuant to the Nimeiri government=s militia strategy, according to a reliable source, the ABentiu area, with the richest oil reserves, was where the initial [Misseriya, Baggara Arabs] raiding had been concentrated.@73 In late 1984, the Eastern Jikany Nuer and the Lek Nuer of the Bentiu area were overrun by a Misseriya militia armed with machineguns by the central government.74 According to a well-informed anthropologist, the muraheleen of the Misseriya were Ainstructed to clear the oil-rich lands of Western Upper Nile of its Nilotic inhabitants. . . . These traumas were soon compounded by massive air bombardments, extensive slave and cattle raids, encroaching rinderpest epidemics, and, ultimately, unprecedented famine.@75 Many Nuer were forced from their homes, their herds steadily decimated, and their families and communities increasingly split apart and destroyed.76
This was in part a response to pressure on the central government to provide adequate security so that the work of Chevron Oil Company in the Bentiu oil fields could recommence after a February 1984 SPLA attack caused its suspension. Among other things, President Nimeiri began to negotiate with the Nuer leaders of Anyanya II in the Bentiu area, who were in a dispute with the SPLA. A government cease-fire agreement was reached with some Anyanya II groups, including Paulino=s, and they were armed and equipped by the Sudan army, with whom they worked in close collaboration after that.77
From 1984 to 1987, another primary function of Anyanya II was to attack SPLA Dinka recruits moving from Bahr El Ghazal through Western Upper Nile to training camps in Ethiopia. In those years Ananya II was described as Aone of the most serious military obstacles to the supremacy of the SPLA in Upper Nile.@78
Meanwhile, on January 1, 1986, the Anyanya II commander Gordon Kong (a Jikany Nuer) defected to the SPLA with the bulk of the Anyanya II army.79 In 1987 and 1988 a partial truce was negotiated between SPLA forces in the region and various Baggara Arab communities in neighboring southern Kordofan.80 By late 1987, the SPLA had wooed back most of the Anyanya II leaders, with the exception of Paulino=s group and a few others. It appears that one reason Paulino=s group did not join the SPLA with other Anyanya II groups was that the SPLA wanted to withdraw the Bul Nuer units from their home area for a period of training in Ethiopia,81 leaving their civilian populationCwho had suffered from Misseriya militia raidsCunprotected.
Paulino Matiep assumed command of the remnants of Anyanya II after Gordon Kong switched his allegiance to the SPLA. By 1988, this was a small, fragmented, and weak force which suffered persistent and regular desertions to the SPLA ranks, while Paulino spent most of his time that year in Khartoum for prolonged medical treatment for a variety of disorders.
In September 1988 the Anyanya II battalion in Mayom, Western Upper Nile, his center of military power, rebelled and joined the SPLA.82 Riek Machar, then SPLA zonal commander of Western Upper Nile, participated in the capture of Mayom.
The government sent Omar El Bashir, then an army officer and later the 1989 leader of the coup d=etat that brought the NIF to power, to recapture Mayom from the SPLA. Bashir and Paulino fought together, and pushed Riek out of Mayom shortly thereafter, forging a strong bond in the process. Paulino later recommended Paul Lilly, also a Bul Nuer, for a position with the government.83
A historian of the Nuer notes that Anyanya II never had substantial support throughout the Nuer, and argues that many of its recruits were motivated by outstanding feuds with those Nuer who were recruited by the SPLA. AWhile an Anyanya II >politburo= continued to reside in Khartoum, and some Nuer militiamen around Bentiu, Malakal, New Fangak, and Abyei continued to be supported by the government, the main force of the Anyanya II was absorbed into the SPLA.@84
Paulino and Riek Join Forces (later SSIM/A) in 1992
Riek Machar left the SPLA and formed what became the SSIM/A in 1991, and Paulino joined Riek's forces in 1992. The unification of all outstanding forces of the Anyanya II army with Riek=s faction was accomplished through the negotiations of Nuer prophets Wutnyang Gatakek85 and Ruel Kuic.86 According to a representative of Riek=s 1998 government-aligned political group, the UDSF, the extent of Paulino=s military efforts against the Sudan government were attacks on some government barges;87 for the most part, SSIA fought the SPLA, not the government, so Paulino=s incorporation into the SSIA and abandonment of his friend Bashir (by then president of Sudan) is not as contradictory as it seems.
After the SSIM/A conference in Akobo in October 1994 Paulino was made acting SSIM governor of the area around Bentiu, based in Mankien. When Riek Machar signed the Political Charter in 1996 and the Peace Agreement in 1997, Paulino went with him into the alliance with the government, although Paulino was not a signatory to either document. It appears that, even in their current association with the government, Paulino=s Anyanya II has not sent troops to fight on other government fronts (such as Damazien or Juba), preferring to remain as a home guard, according to one of Paulino=s long-term soldiers. They were needed, among other things, to defend the Nuer against cattle raiding by the muraheleen, which continued even in 1998, despite truces.88 They were also needed to guard the oil fields.
Paulino and Riek: Fighting in 1997-98
After the Peace Agreement, and prior to the elections for southern governors in late 1997, the areas controlled by the SSIM/A and the government garrison towns located in them were combined politically. Thus, parallel political posts such as governor were combined. In Unity state, this meant that the government town of Bentiu was combined with the SSIM/A territory surrounding it to form one Unity state with one appointed governor, Paulino Matiep. Paulino, however, fell ill again and went back and forth between Bentiu and Khartoum. In his absence, the deputy governor, Simon Jok Gatwech, was acting governor until he too fell ill. Tito Biel, a military commander, became deputy governor and then acting governor.
After the decision was made to permit elections for southern governors in late 1997, President Bashir dismissed all the sitting (appointed) governors. In preparation for the election, Tito Biel was named acting governor and Paulino was removed as governor by the central government.
Paulino Matiep was not among the three candidates for governor chosen by Riek Machar and President Bashir for Unity state in late 1997. According to Riek=s spokesman, Paulino did not declare himself for the position because he spoke neither Arabic nor English.89 Paulino supported Paul Lilly, who had been governor of the government-held garrison town of Bentiu and was a NIF adherent. Riek supported his SSIM/A colleague, Taban Deng Gai for governor.
In preparation for the electoral campaign, agents of Taban Deng were sent to Unity state to mobilize his followers. Paulino, according to Riek supporters, arrested these agents and detained them at his headquarters in Mankien, preventing them from campaigning. Tito, as acting governor, ordered SSDF soldiers to secure the release of these detainees, on the grounds that Paulino, who was no longer governor, had no authority to detain anyone. Tito=s SSDF forces clashed with Paulino=s men outside Mankien in 1997, and they fought until the beginning of 1998, with Ler changing hands several times.90 In this fighting, the hospital run by an Italian nongovernmental organization, Coordinating Committee for Voluntary Service (COSV), in Nhialdu was burned down.91 They clashed in December along a front line west of and close to Duar, and along the Nhial Dhui-Wichok-Turkey-Kwoic corridor, with Paulino west of the line and Tito east.92 Paulino was finally prevailed upon by Riek and Nuer elders to release the electoral agents.93
Taban Deng Gai was elected governor of Unity state in early December 1997. Paulino=s dissatisfaction with the election results was said to have led to another round of fighting between Paulino and Tito, by then the SSDF commander of the area. One news article reported that the government prevented Paulino from leaving Khartoum to rejoin his forces in a bid to calm down the situation, but that did not work. According to this article, some 200 Nuer fighters were killed in pitched battles in January 1998.94
According to Riek Machar, however, only thirty-eight people were killed in more than a week of clashes in January 1998. The troops on both sides, all purportedly members of the SSDF which Riek heads, had been guarding the oil concession. According to Riek, the fighting was over the governorship.95 The SPLA broadcast an offer of help to Paulino,96 which apparently was ignored. The SPLA offered its own version of the fighting: it said Paulino=s troops had attacked the oil installations in a dispute over the elections and the issue of oil revenues. The SPLA further claimed that some of the rebel troops that Aexpelled@ Chevron in 1984 were now working under Paulino.97
Riek Machar complained to President Bashir in a mid-1998 letter that since September 17, 1997, Unity state had been Athe theatre of a criminal war. Paulino Matip is waging an aggressive and destructive war against the [SSDF] and innocent civilians resulting in the destruction of homes, property and services infrastructures.@98 He noted that Paulino was supplied directly by the government with large quantities of arms and other military equipment,99 and expressed astonishment that the government would back Paulino to fight against the governmentally-sanctioned official army of the south, the SSDF:
To my great surprise I was informed recently [mid-1998] by the Minister of Defense that in fact Paulino Matiep is a General in the Sudan army and enjoys all the rights and privileges of a General. If this is the case, the question to be asked is, in whose interest does the Sudan army fight against the SSDF which is its ally. It would have been understandable for Paulino to defect from the SSDF to join Garang=s movement. But we cannot understand why Paulino defects from the SSDF to join the Sudan army and then turns into an enemy of the SSDF and to fight it with the military resources of the Sudanese state to which we all belong . . . .100
Paulino created his own faction, the South Sudan Unity Movement/Army (SSUM/A), apart from Riek=s SSDF, and reportedly received a letter from President Bashir recognizing this entity.101 According to many sources, the government sought to make Paulino into a counterbalance to Riek Machar, a role that Kerubino had played before his defection.102 Riek supporters suspected that the government was motivated by a desire to push Riek out of the oil fields. They feared that the Khartoum government hoped to delay matters and divide southerners so that the self-determination referendum would fail and Khartoum north would not be blamed for it.
Riek said that Paulino destroyed one general and three specialized kala azar hospitals, valued at $350 million. Paulino also stole cattle, and burned and destroyed villages and school buildings and the headquarters of the Ler district, according to Riek.
One of the most disappointing aspect[s] of this situation is that the victims of this senseless destruction are the very people who have been singing and praising the new era of peace ushered in by the Khartoum Agreement. Now their reward is the destruction of their lives and property.103
Riek also complained that the army had apparently rejected the formation of the SSDF as the military force in the south, judging from its financing and backing of Paulino and its Arepeated refusal . . . to supply the SSDF with ammunition, weapons, uniforms and other military materials to the degree that the SSDF has become unable to maintain security and stability or protect the peace agreement.@104
Riek pointed out that if the responsibility for security was not fully handed to the South Sudan Coordinating Council (SSCC) and the governors of the southern states, the Peace Agreement as a whole Awill be threatened and will be rendered empty of its content and therefore meaningless.@
One other threat to peace which is by no means less dangerous than the ones mentioned above, is the total lack of financial resources for its implementation. . . . It is a fact that the Council in the last four months had received something less than 2% of its budgetary allocations.105
Of course the security of the oil fields was paramount to the government of Sudan, anxious for the economic windfall. The government in May accused the SPLA of trying to control the oil fields by raids on the border of southern Kordofan province and Bahr El Ghazal, but claimed that the SPLA had been repulsed.106
An oil field defense force was believed to have been constituted under Paulino's command; the Indian Ocean Newsletter reported that it included former Iranian Pasdaran and South African military advisers recruited by "a specialized security firm." It reported that Paulino bought himself a Afine white stallion@ to review his private army. The Sudan government denied that any Iranians were involved in Bentiu, and did not exclude the possibility of Chinese aid in training Sudanese nationals to provide security to work sites and wells.107
A large labor force of some 5,000 Chinese was brought in near to start construction of the Bentiu-Port Sudan oil pipeline.108 The NDA, the military-political opposition umbrella group, alleged that some 2,000 Chinese were prisoners who agreed to work in this remote and disease-ridden area in exchange for a reduction in their sentence.109
With the expansion of the oil business, many northern Sudanese have moved in to what has historically been the land of the Nuer. This immigration threatens to change the ethnic composition of Western Upper Nile in a way that could affect the referendum on self-determination. Governor Taban Deng of Upper Nile state in May 1998 conceded that 100 percent of his (Nuer) people would vote to secede, although he preferred unity.110
Bentiu continued to be served by OLS (Northern Sector) from Khartoum and the rest of the Western Upper Nile area by OLS (Southern Sector) from Lokichokkio, Kenya, despite the fact that in 1996 the SSIM/A, the dominant armed rebel group in this region, abandoned any pretense of rebel status and signed the Political Charter with the government. Aside from a possible desire to make a statement about autonomy from Khartoum, the SSIM/A perhaps had another reason for wanting to continue to be served by the southern sector: historically it has been more responsive to needs in the south than has the northern sector.
Fighting Between the Two Pro-Government Militias Devastates Civilians and Pushes Aid Agencies Out
The Bentiu area of Unity state suffered flooding in 1996 and drought in 1997. These conditions resulted in two years of poor harvests and poor food security. Normally this area provides surplus food for the more southern areas.111 The fighting also was having an effect on civilian survival by late 1997. The February 1998 U.N. appeal for funds for emergency operations in Sudan stated that its goal in Unity state was to Aprovide 700 MTs of relief food for 27,290 displaced and war-affected beneficiaries during the hunger gap period from April to July .@112 Due to fighting between Riek Machar=s forces and those of Paulino Matiep, and the looting, burning, and displacement of civilians, however, the food situation rapidly deteriorated. For the month of June 1998, the U.N. planned to bring 1,093 MT of relief food to 151,850 beneficiaries in Unity state,113 a steep increase over February=s projected tonnage and beneficiaries.
Despite the need, relief agencies had to pull out of the area on June 29. A statement by the medical NGO Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) said that its withdrawal came as a result of the fighting. A number of buildings in Ler (Unity state) had been burned down, and the MSF and other compounds looted. MSF said it had been providing therapeutic and supplementary feeding to 751 children.114
They did not leave too soon. Fighting broke out again. Paulino attacked Riek's forces in Ler and Akon in the first week of July, according to Riek Machar,115 who told a Khartoum newspaper that it was "fierce fighting."116
A Paulino spokesman denied responsibility. He claimed that Paulino had agreed to a cease-fire but Riek had scrapped the agreement and made a preemptive attack on the Paulino forces at a camp near Bentiu, which was repelled.117 The spokesman denied Paulino burned villages or caused loss of life.118
On July 15, the government entered into a cease-fire agreement in Bahr El Ghazal with the SPLA, but the government-aligned Nuer militias continued to fight each other. The government sent a fact-finding mission in early July to investigate the clashes between the two government militias. The government delegation found that "vast damage was inflicted on government installations and development projects while 49 people have been killed"119 in Western Upper Nile. The delegation blamed the damage on Paulino's forces. A Riek official, Makwaj Tenj Yok, accused Paulino of violating the peace agreement and trying to Amar the image@ of pro-government factions in the eyes of the SPLA prior to the peace talks scheduled for August 1998 in Addis Ababa. Paulino claimed he was committed to the peace agreement and would accept a solution proposed by Khartoum, but said that he and Riek Machar had a disagreement over the military leadership of the SSDF.120
The WFP attempted to return to Ler in mid-July to distribute food. When one of the militia forces attacked Ler the two WFP workers had to flee, wading at night waist-high through mosquito-infested swamps.121
The two sides agreed on a "cessation of hostilities" and pledged not to fight each other again, according to an announcement by the Sudan government on July 21, a week after a separate cease-fire was put into effect in Bahr El Ghazal with the SPLA.122 In areas of Sudan that experience seasonal rains and flooding, a Awet season cease-fire@ occurs almost annually due to logistical constraints alone.
The result of the fighting was the displacement of tens of thousands of civilians, according to a government newspaper in July 1998. The fiercest fighting was in Ler, where 250 houses, fifty shops, and 2,500 cattle compounds were destroyed.123 Throughout the fighting there were major losses for the OLS programs due to looting and burning: refrigerators, veterinary equipment, vaccines and other medicines, camp equipment, and so forth.124
The tragic situation in Upper Nile has not received as much attention as Bahr El Ghazal, possibly because of the continued and unpredictable fighting and security problems. Some journalists, however, did manage to record cases as pitiful as anything in nearby Bahr El Ghazal. One involved an eight-year-old orphaned Nuer boy who was too small to keep up with the other people running from the fighting and learned from an early ageCafter his mother died of typhoidCto scavenge for food for himself. He followed soldiers in order to lick the pot when they had finished; some families would let him stay a day or two, but pushed him out after that, because they did not have enough for their own children. A childless woman in Lankien, Upper Nile, took him in, but then he began to lose his sight as his foster mother fell sick with asthma.125
In late August-early September 1998, there was fighting between Paulino and Riek again; apparently Paulino captured Bentiu, Matkenj, and Nekai in late August and was driven out two weeks later, according to press reports citing a military source.126 In an interview in Khartoum in mid-September, Paulino claimed that the fighting was still going on. He claimed that the SPLA was supplying Riek with ammunition and soldiers. Paulino said the fighting started on September 5 when his forces were withdrawing from Ler, a town he took in June. He said Riek=s SSDF forces attacked and drove his forces out of Wankei, about 120 kilometers (seventy-five miles) northwest of Ler, burning down Wankei, killing innocent people and abducting children. His troops, Paulino continued, had recaptured Wankei and were pursuing Riek=s troops towards Ler.127
A government spokesman said that the conflict led to Aserious human losses and material damage.@128 Others said at least 400 were killed and thousands displaced since late August factional fighting. Paulino=s forces were said to have regained a swathe of land southwest of Bentiu after being chased out of Bentiu by Riek=s man.129
The four cease-fires arranged by the government between the two government militias in nine months clearly were not working.130 In late September Riek announced a vow to stop clashing with Paulino=s forces, and Paulino announced a truce with Riek=s forces, according to a government news agency.131 Ler and Mankien were cleared by the OLS (Southern Sector) Security Office for resumption of relief activities on October 8, 1998, with the proviso that the situation was fluid and agencies should spend a minimum amount of time on the ground; it was discovered that the compound of the medical relief agency Medecins du Monde (Doctors of the World) in Mankien had been looted prior to that date.132
Despite the clearance, it was not until December that guarantees by the warring factions of security for aid workers permitted WFP to air-drop 375 MT of food in the area, the first since July 1998. Relief workers observed that Ler, once a hub for food and health services, was a ghost town, having been raided three times since June, the raiders having looted, burned homes, and destroyed schools.133 Looting of NGO compounds forced the shut-down of the Ler hospital and other key facilities.134 Most agencies had not resumed work even in early 1999.
The U.N. observed that more OLS personnel were evacuated from Upper Nile due to insecurity than from any other OLS operational area. It noted that in January 1999, humanitarian coverage in this region was lowest of all major OLS areas, and warned that A[c]urrent trends indicate that much of the region may rapidly develop into an acute emergency on the scale of Bahr Al Ghazal last year, particularly if insecurity continues to generate displacement and prevent humanitarian agencies from mounting life-saving interventions.@135
SSDF Losing Influence Among Ex-Rebels
Riek=s SSDF also was criticized by other southerners. From another direction, Col. Abdallah Majuk (spokesperson for an SSDF group), Col. Ibrahim Chuol (commander of the SSDF Fifth Brigade), and Col. Osman Garang Bol (head of the SSDF First Brigade of Nyamlell in Northern Bahr El Ghazal136) accused Riek of Aracism and secessionism@ and of targeting their forces because they were Muslims. They claimed Riek Machar expelled them and closed their offices in Khartoum because their group advocates unity and because the majority of its fighters (claimed to be 14,000) were Muslims. They also complained that they had not been paid since August 1997.137
In October, Lawrence Lual Lual, the leader of the Bahr El Ghazal Dinka pro-government militia after the defection of Kerubino, announced that his group had withdrawn from the United Democratic Salvation Front political coalition to protest the actions of Riek. He complained that Riek had removed all Lual=s nominees for posts in the central and state governments, had appointed Riek=s own people to command the Bahr El Ghazal troops, and had not paid the salaries of the troops. Lual said 400 of his group of 1,500 were cooperating with Paulino=s anti-Riek Machar pro-government militia.138
59 "China Completes 1,110-km Oil Pipelining Project in Sudan,@ Asia Pulse via COMTEX, Beijing, December 14, 1998. According to this article, the U.S.$215 million oil pipeline was completed ahead of schedule.
63 Michela Wrong, ASudan: Oil seen as new lifeblood,@ Financial Times (London), June 11, 1998; see ASudan Begins Construction of Oil Pipeline,@ PANA, Khartoum, May 26, 1998. Another government official, Hassan al-Tom, director general at the ministry of energy and mining, estimated a $300 million yearly savings. Alistair Lyon, ASudan pipeline key to future oil plans,@ Reuters, Khartoum, August 28, 1998.
72 Human Rights Watch interview with former SSIA combatant, Lokichokkio, May 11, 1998. Paulino had been in Anyanya and was integrated into the Sudan army as a result of the Addis Ababa agreement. He was based with Battalion 104 in Akobo on the Ethiopian border when he and other southerners rebelled against the Sudan government and fled to Ethiopia in 1975. In about 1978, apparently homesick, Paulino returned to Bentiu and formed his own militia. Human Rights Watch interview, Biel Torkech Rambang, U.S. representative of UDSF, Washington, DC, December 14, 1998. UDSF is the political group formed by Riek Machar of the ex-rebel, pro-government forces.
108 In April 1998 the Energy and Mining Minister of Sudan, Dr. Awad Ahmed Al-Jaz, announced that the Public Chinese Petroleum Company would begin work with around 5,000 Chinese employees working in the field of petroleum in Sudan. He said that tens of Chinese companies operating in Sudan in the fields of petroleum, mining, energy, agriculture, industry, and roads. AEstablishment of Petroleum Pipe-Line To Begin Early Next May,@ SUNA, Beijing, April 22, 1998.
109 "2,000 Chinese prisoners building Sudanese oil pipeline: opposition,@ AFP, Cairo, August 19, 1998. The NDA alleged the prisoners were promised a $5,000 salary per year plus their freedom after two years. Ibid.
130 Alfred Taban, AClashes bring turmoil to Sudan oil zone,@ Reuters, Khartoum, September 15, 1998. The article says that the government stopped supplying arms to the two leaders since their conflict intensified in January, but does not cite a source for that assertion.
136 Nyamlell goes back and forth from government to SPLA hands. At the time of this writing, it was in SPLA hands. It is an area that has suffered greatly from muraheleen raids that loot cattle and capture women and children to use as slaves. The presence of Riek=s SSDF there would suggest a connection between the SSDFCor at least this commanderC and the muraheleen slave raiders.