<<previous  | index  |  next>>



Chevron’s presence spanned major developments in Sudan’s modern postcolonial history. Chevron was granted its oil concession in 1974, shortly after the agreement on southern autonomy ended the separatist war in the south. Chevron discovered oil in this autonomous region in 1978, and by the time a second civil war broke out in the south in 1983 was developing Unity and Heglig oilfields. Located in today’s GNPOC Blocks 1 and 2 in Western Upper Nile/Unity State, these oilfields were home to the Nuer and Dinka, members of the two largest ethnic groups in southern Sudan.

In February 1984, a southern separatist rebel force, Anyanya II, attacked a Chevron facility in Block 1 and killed three expatriate workers. This led Chevron to suspend operations in the south.

A new Sudanese rebel army, the SPLM/A, was formed in 1983 in Ethiopia. The SPLM/A brought together, temporarily, the separatist remnants of the first civil war (based in Ethiopia) and many former Anyanya troops integrated into the Sudanese army battalions.111

The SPLM/A, following the lead of its Ethiopian and Soviet backers, endorsed a united, secular, socialist Sudan. In the words of its leader, Sudanese army colonel John Garang de Mabior, at the founding of the SPLM/A,

[T]he anarchy in production, the separatist tendencies in the various regions of our beloved country, the moral decay and all the ills that I have enumerated can only be solved within the context of a united Sudan under a socialist system that affords democratic and human rights to all nationalities and guarantees freedom to all religions, beliefs, and outlooks.112 (italics in original)

The SPLA’s first battles were within the rebel movement. The separatist faction, Anyanya II, was defeated in 1984, driven back from Ethiopia into Sudan, and started accepting arms from the government, setting a pattern for the war that has still not been broken.

To prevent further rebel threats to oil development, state and Umma party authorities started arming Baggara cattle-owning nomads, the western and northern Kordofan and Darfur neighbors of the Nuer and Dinka, with automatic weapons. These authorities were non-nomadic Baggara in many cases. The Baggara served as a proxy, a cheap and deniable counterinsurgency tool for the government. They serve the same purpose today. The Baggara were able to loot southern cattle with impunity and push the Nuer and Dinka off their land. Most Nuer and Dinka were still armed only with spears.

The removal by 1985 popular uprising of President Nimeiri’s dictatorship did not affect the war, and the elected parliamentary government that followed (1986-89) did not give priority to a peace settlement, although many negotiations were held and many preliminary agreements were entered into among various parties. In 1988, the SPLM/A and the Anyanya II, except for Bul Nuer Cmdr. Paulino Matiep of Western Upper Nile, joined forces. In 1989, an Islamist-military coup d’état led to the end of peace negotiations, just as it appeared that they might bear fruit. Unlike other military coups, this one did not hand over power to civilians after a short period. Fourteen years later, most of the same persons are still in power, through brutal repression and denial of political rights.

Another major political/military shift occurred in May 1991: the SPLM/A’s main backer, Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Miriam, was overthrown. At least one hundred thousand southern Sudanese refugees fled Ethiopia, with the SPLM/A, and returned to Sudan. A few months later, in August 1991, Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon, SPLA zonal commander of Western Upper Nile, and others led an attempted coup against the SPLM/A leader John Garang. When it failed, he formed his own rebel secessionist group, claiming Western Upper Nile and the rest of the Nuer areas, basically most of the oilfields of southern Sudan. Although Riek Machar’s group had a separatist agenda, it secretly allied with the Sudanese government, which supplied it with arms and other material. It fought and defended itself against the SPLA, not the government. A major south-south war was added to the conflict.

Chevron sold out in 1992 as the Sudanese government began to look for a way out of its serious economic decline: in 1990 the government, defaulting in debt service payments on the staggering debt incurred by President Nimeiri, was suspended by the IMF, a blow to its ability to borrow money. 113 The Islamist-military government, desperate for oil revenues, had none because the oilfields were mostly in rebel-controlled areas.

Chevron Oil Concessions 114

In 1974, two years after the 1972 Addis Ababa peace accord that ended the first civil war, President Ja’afar Nimeiri’s government granted the Chevron Oil Company (American in origin) large oil concessions in Sudan.115 The company explored for oil unsuccessfully where the government directed, in areas outside southern Sudan. One source reports that oil exploration in southern Sudan initially came about through the intervention of then U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. (later U.S. President) George H. Bush, who alerted the government of Sudan to satellite imaging maps that indicated the presence of oil in the south. George H. Bush also played a role in getting U.S. companies involved in Sudan.116

According to Abel Alier, a prominent figure in the southern regional administration, southerners had to struggle for oil exploration in the south: “we . . . succeeded against all odds in 1974 to get the first oil company (Chevron) to the South for exploration.”117

Chevron discovered the two major oil basins, Muglad and Melut, and then in 1978 the oilfield in the Muglad Basin near Bentiu, which the Nimeiri government named al Wihda or “Unity.” It was located in Block 1, inside Upper Nile province, part of the Southern Region. Soon after, Chevron discovered the Heglig field to the northwest.118 The central government and the Southern Kordofan authorities used the Arabic name Igligi for this oilfield and area in Block 2, using an Arabic name to denote Arab control.119

The Shell (Sudan) Development Company Limited120 subsequently took a 25 percent interest in Chevron’s large project. Together, the companies spent about U.S. $ 1 billion in extensive seismic testing and the drilling of fifty-two wells.121

Southern Fears about Oil Development

The Addis Ababa agreement of 1972 that ended the first civil war provided qualified rights for the autonomous southern regional government to receive revenues accruing from mineral and other natural resources in the south; at the time of the agreement in 1972, no one was aware of oil deposits in the south.122 After the discovery of oil in 1978, southerners feared that the government, always dominated by the northern elite, would deny the south jobs, a refinery in the south, a pipeline through the south, and any share of the revenues from oil. In 1978, southern urban residents took to the streets to condemn the government’s decision to export Bentiu crude oil through Port Sudan; the protestors wanted export through the south to the Kenyan port of Mombasa.123

Following the discovery of uranium at Hofrat en-Nahas in Bahr El Ghazal in 1961, the government had redrawn the western Bahr El Ghazal/Darfur border to give these mineral deposits to the northern state of Darfur. Although the Addis Ababa agreement (1972) provided that this territory should be returned to Bahr El Ghazal, it never was. Many pointed to this annexation of mineral resources to the north by the central government as a precedent for what would happen in the oilfields.124

Several government actions deepened that fear. In 1980 President Nimeiri, the same president who had signed the autonomy agreement in 1972, made an effort through the national assembly to redraw the Upper Nile border to include the Heglig and Unity oilfields in the province of Kordofan (i.e., outside the south). He dropped the plan due to vehement opposition from southerners, both in the national assembly and in street demonstrations.125

Chevron and the government proposed a package of development projects following the protests over the redrawing of the Upper Nile border and the location of the refinery. There were five items: the government and Chevron would upgrade the Kosti-Renk-Malakal road to an all-weather road; Chevron would support improvement of health, drinking water, and educational services in Bentiu Area Council; a development authority for that Council would be created with a starting fund of one million Sudanese pounds; a topping plant would be established to produce refined products for areas near the oilfields; and Chevron would provide special barges to transport refined products from the Kosti refinery to Juba and intermediate towns. Neither the government nor Chevron lived up to these agreements.126

Resumption of Civil War

In May 1983, contrary to the Addis Ababa agreement that had ended the southern separatist war by setting up an autonomous Southern Region, President Nimeiri split the Southern Region into three and revoked its autonomous powers.127 His dissolution of the southern government, passage of shari’a laws in September 1983, and the short-shifting of the south in his handling of economic resources particularly the oil, were prominent among reasons for renewed civil war.128 Already in 1982, some Nuer and Dinka soldiers in Wangkei base had rebelled and taken their guns to Ethiopia to join the nascent separatist rebel movement called Anyanya II.129

In May 1983, the Sudanese army’s 105th Battalion, consisting mostly of ex-Anyanya southern forces and located at Bor, Upper Nile province, mutinied. They were discontented because of threats to transfer them to the north, away from their home area, and because of a salary dispute with headquarters.130 Due to political differences and miscalculations, this escalated into an attack by Sudanese army loyalists on the 105th Battalion headquarters in Bor. The rebellious105th Battalion, under the command of Sudanese army officer Maj. Kerubino Kwanyin Bol, fled to Ethiopia, where it was shortly joined by Sudanese army Col. John Garang de Mabior.131 Later the 104th Battalion at Ayod, Upper Nile, commanded by former Anyanya officer William Nyuong Bapiny, and others in the 105th Batallion garrisons in Pibor and Pachalla, left for Ethiopia to join the struggle. 132

Formation of SPLM/A in Ethiopia, 1983

At the time, Bor was only one of a series of mutinies of former Anyanya from the government army.133 But the Bor mutiny led to the founding of the SPLM/A by Col. John Garang, Maj. Kerubino Kwanyin Bol, Lt. Col. Samuel Gai (Nath) Tut, and others.134 From its inception, the SPLM/A was, in effect, an army, defecting in battalions, southern in origin. Over the years prior to 1983, small numbers of Nuer and Dinka soldiers, police, and civil servants had gradually joined the Anyanya II nucleus in Ethiopia,135 and were initially incorporated into the new movement.

The SPLM/A was sponsored, housed, supplied, and trained by the repressive government of Pres. Mengistu Haile Miriam of Ethiopia. Ethiopia was reciprocating Sudan’s own efforts. Ethiopia had warned Sudan as early as 1976 that if Sudan did not stop supporting Ethiopian and Eritrean dissidents, Ethiopia would support Sudanese dissidents.136 With the Cold War at its height, Ethiopia was aligned with the Soviet Union and Cuba, while Sudan was aligned with the United States. President Nimeiri’s dictatorship received considerable aid from the U.S. The SPLM/A received arms, training, and other assistance from the Soviet bloc and sent thousands of southern and Nuba boy soldiers and adult officers to Cuba for military and academic education.137

Colonel Garang’s call for a united, secular, socialist Sudan was a non-secessionist goal consistent with that of the Ethiopian ruling council, the Derg. Anyanya II, like its predecessor, called for southern independence.

In Ethiopia, political, leadership, and personality problems cropped up within the rebel movement between the two factions in the SPLM/A, one led by Lt. Col. Samuel Gai and Maj. William Abdallah Chuol—the Anyanya II separatist faction —and the other by Colonel Garang. The SPLA fought its first battles against Anyanya II. Although Anyanya II was driven out of Ethiopia and some leaders killed, it did not dissolve but became a predominantly Nuer militia taking arms from the Sudanese government and fighting the SPLA. Anyanya II was particularly useful to the Sudanese government because of its location along the route from Bahr El Ghazal to the Ethiopian border, where it attacked SPLA recruits on their way to Ethiopian training camps. It also intercepted and fought the trained SPLA troops proceeding from their bases in Ethiopia.138

Government Use of the Baggara as a Forced Displacement Tool, 1980s

Following the southern mutiny and the resumption ofwar in 1983, both governments of dictator Jafa’ar Nimeiri (1969-85) and elected Prime Minister Sadiq al Mahdi of the Umma Party (1986-89) took steps to counter rebellious southern groups—and to protect the areas of oil exploration—by favoring Arab ethnic groups in the “transition zone” of Sudan between north and south. Both governments armed the militia of the Baggara nomadic cattle herders of southern Kordofan and Darfur, the muraheleen,139 with automatic weapons. The Baggara began to use their new weapons to loot cattle and force the Dinka and Nuer from their land and pastures. The Baggara already had an advantage over their Dinka and Nuer neighbors, in that the Baggara had horses whereas southerners could not keep horses because of the inhospitable climate.

In the north of Western Upper Nile, the government used displacement to make the area “safe” for foreign and northern-based exploitation of oil. The Heglig oil location (in Block 2) was not densely populated, but Dinka lived dispersed in the whole Heglig area and moved their cattle tocattle camps in that same region, according to contemporary accounts, the memories of former residents, and older maps.140

The government permitted the muraheleen to operate unchecked in Dinka and Nuer areas in order to (1) deflect the political threat posed by the marginalized but potentially threatening Baggara by allowing them to reap profits from looting their richer neighbors to the south; (2) defeat southern rebels; and (3) gain access to southern resources such as oil, water, and grazing lands in the context of a growing economic and environmental crisis in the north.141 The government did not pay the Baggara anything much for their raids, but gave their militia a license to steal from the Nuer and Dinka: cattle, grain, household goods—and women and children, taken as slaves. Notably, after the civil war resumed, the government stopped intervening in raids and calling tribal conferences to resolve conflicts between Baggara and the Nuer and Dinka.142

In the early 1980s, the Baggara stepped up their fights with the Ngok Dinka of Abyei, southern Kordofan, over water and grazing; the Baggara’s home areas periodically suffered drought and were undergoing desertification—and a famine in 1984. They thoroughly looted and displaced these Ngok Dinka of Kordofan, many of whom became displaced persons south of the Bahr al Arab River, in the Bahr al Ghazal territory of their Twic Dinka cousins.143 Even there, Baggara assaults kept and keep the displaced Ngok Dinka and their Twic Dinka cousins on the run.144

The next line of Baggara attack during those early years followed known watering routes southeast, through Western Upper Nile. Entering from the westerly direction of Abiemnon at the beginning of the dry season in December or January, when the roads were dry enough for their horses, the muraheleen displaced small isolated villages in Dinka areas of Western Upper Nile throughout the early 1980s. They pierced through to Leek Nuer territory and displaced villages there also.

According to a church development worker based in Bentiu and Mayom, in about 1982 the Baggara began showing up in the Mayom area with automatic weapons and became more aggressive. That year the Baggara took about 500 Nuer and Dinka cattle from the Heglig/Unity/Mayom region, and ran back north.145

A young Nuer man told how on two occasions in the 1980s the muraheleen came on horses and raided his village, Rang (two hours north of Bentiu on foot):146

In the beginning, we had no guns. . . . The muraheleen were shooting at people, who scattered. Then the muraheleen took the cows and left. Sometimes they captured children playing in the forest. Those children never returned. The muraheleen wore long white robes, and had guns. They came once a year but our people did not move.147

The muraheleen burned down the huts and grain, but these Nuer did not leave until the “Arab soldiers came footing [sic], in uniform,” the Nuer man explained. “They were coming quietly, then they started shooting without saying anything.” The soldiers also came twice, destroying the village and taking the cows. But the second time they set up a base in the village. The narrator was then sixteen. “The soldiers did not tell us to move but we saw them shoot civilians, and this was too much for us. My brothers were killed, the younger and the elder. They were in the luak [cattle byre].” 148

Inside the current Block 4, west of Bentiu, and probably not far from what later became an oilfield, there were schools attended by hundreds of Leek Nuer children in 1983, according to the man who then served as school administrator.149 These Nuer were pushed by the Baggara to cross the Bahr El Ghazal (Nam) River for safety. The school administrator said:

The Baggara looted the Nuer cattle, and sold it to traders. They killed people, abducted girls and boys to be slaves, and sold some to Libya. If a person were lucky, his children would be in Khartoum. Most of those abducted disappeared. This started . . . when the government of Sudan gave guns to the Baggara.150

The schools the administrator was managing closed from 1983 until 1991 because the Baggara raiders destroyed them. Whole Nuer communities fled; many families were separated. Most young Nuer men went to Bilpam, an SPLA military base in Ethiopia, “for training to protect their land,” the school administrator said.151 “The Baggara Misseriya came from Abiemnon, which was an Ngok Dinka area. They pushed the Dinka to Bul Nuer areas.”152

The administrator recalled that:

Before the discovery of oil, chiefs on both sides would negotiate their differences, in 1965 and 1967. After that, there was no negotiation because the government of Sudan prevented that. The government of Sudan at Bentiu took no action to protect any Nuer or Dinka from the raids. They called it a “cool war,” a political war, which kills people indirectly.153

Thus, the Leek Nuer fled from north of the Bahr El Ghazal (Nam) and Bahr Al Arab Rivers, down to the area south of Bentiu. Some Ruweng (Panaru) Dinka moved far away, south and west to Bahr El Ghazal province. Both Nuer and Dinka tended to go to relatives where possible, and to put a river between themselves and the Baggara for protection.154

According to Taban Deng Gai, the governor of Unity State (Western Upper Nile) from 1997-1999,155 the attacks on the Nuer in Western Upper Nile followed government demands that the Nuer population leave the areas north of the river:

The Leek Nuer lived north of Bentiu, in what are now the Unity and Heglig oilfields. In 1983 they were told to move by the central government, to cross the [Bahr El Ghazal or Nam] River. They received no compensation. Their names were registered for “later on.”156

Many contemporaneous reports confirm the expulsion of Nuer and Dinka from the early oilfield areas of Western Upper Nile. Anthropologist Sharon E. Hutchinson lived in Tharlual, where a Leek Nuer chief resided, during her fieldwork among the Leek Nuer in the early 1980s.157 She described their clearance:

By late 1984 I had learned that my principal field sites in both eastern and western Nuerland had been destroyed. Tharlual had been overrun and razed by a band of northern Baggara (Misseriya) Arabs that had been armed with automatic weapons and ammunition by the government and instructed to clear the oil-rich lands of the Western Upper Nile of its Nilotic inhabitants.158

Africa Watch, now the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, reported that the muraheleen, active in 1983 and 1984, were “raiding into north-west Upper Nile, and devastating [the] Leek [Nuer].”159

A large pocket of Ruweng (Panaru) Dinka, who kept few cattle and were more sedentary, remained in the northeastern corner of Western Upper Nile/Unity State in Block 1-Block 5A. They were affected by government-armed muraheleen raiding starting in about 1983; by 1993, residents told a relief assessment team, they had few cattle because they had been taken in “Arab cattle raids” since the beginning of the war. The team observed very few cattle and goats in this whole Dinka area.

Perhaps as much as 70 percent of the population surveyed in 1993 in this part of Ruweng (Panaru) County had died in the previous four years (1989-93) because of displacement, migration, and disease, primarily kala azar, a wasting disease, according to those conducting the 1993 evaluation.160 The Dinka residents were exposed to kala azar when they began hiding in the acacia forest nearby for safety from the murahaleen raids.161 This epidemic started in the (western) Jikany area, south of the Bahr El Ghazal (Nam) River, in the mid-1980s, spreading north from the Nuer population to the Dinka area of Ruweng (Panaru) County in the late 1980s. MSF finally estimated that about 100,000 people had died from kala azar in Western Upper Nile/Unity State since 1984, as a result of the war.162

Southern politicians at the time saw a close link between the displacement and oil. Abel Alier, former head of the southern regional government, wrote that Chevron attempted to support these muraheleen as a way to protect the oilfields:

[T]he role of oil in South-North politics was further developed when Chevron made concerted attempts to support the activities of Southern Kordofan based armed militia [muraheleen] to secure protection of the oilfields in Bentiu Area Council to make exploitation and further prospecting possible. All oilfield areas were practically cleared of civilians in 1985-86; some of [the civilians] returned to the area in 1988 under the protection of the SPLA.163

Africa Watch noted that the muraheleen operating in the area in the early 1980s had been “organized by the government to protect Chevron’s oilfields in Bentiu.”164 A journalist based in Khartoum at the time wrote that in early 1984 a special “Oilfields Protection Force” was established at Chevron’s request and that until at least late 1984 Chevron was providing substantial support to these troops. According to her, the battalion was based not in the oilfields (Heglig and Unity) but further north, in El Muglad, and was under the command of the son of General Abboud, the late military dictator.165 Years later, in 1988, the troops were sent to Rubkona near Bentiu to re-secure the oilfields and put pressure on Chevron to fulfill its concession obligations.166

Chevron Attempts and Fails to Develop the Oilfields

From the outset, the Chevron project was beset with difficulties. The SPLM/A opposed the oil developments in Heglig and Unity, the relationship between Chevron and the government of Sudan was tense, and the civil war as well as the government’s political and economic difficulties kept the country perpetually unstable and an ongoing investment risk.

Chevron relations with the local southern authorities (during the period when the south had autonomy, 1972-83) began propitiously but deteriorated.167 The security situation worsened. In 1982, Nuer rebels took hostage five employees of a Chevron subcontractor, seizing them from offices in Yoinyang near Bentiu. After several weeks, a Nuer Roman Catholic priest, Father Zakaria Bol Chatim, managed to convince Anyanya II to let the hostages go. According to one observer, the rebels wanted to make the point that the oil “belonged to south[erners].”168 In December 1983 Charles David Hubbard, a Chevron expatriate employee, was shot and killed during an armed robbery attempt at the company’s base camp in Bentiu.169

The safety of Chevron facilities and personnel was a major concern to the company. Oil development largely depended on the Sudanese government’s ability to provide adequate security for international oil companies working there. Abel Alier, former head of the southern regional government, maintained that Chevron itself had a role in destabilizing the area, leading to its expulsion in 1984.170

On February 2, 1984, Anyanya II, led by Cmdr. Bul Nyawan and his deputy, Cmdr. James Lial Dieu, attacked Chevron’s base camp in Yoinyang, killing three expatriate workers171 and injuring others. The company suspended its operations.172

After receiving assurances from the Sudanese government that the area was safe, Chevron resumed some operations on March 9, 1984, a month after the fatal rebel attack.173 John Silcox, president of Chevron’s overseas operations, told the Wall Street Journal that the main reason the company did not fully resume operations was that “[w]e have to have access to the south before we can go back to work and we’re not going to expose our employees to undue risk. And being in the middle of a civil war zone is an undue risk in our opinion.”174

But Chevron’s area of operations did not quiet down. The Anyanya II rebels under Brig. Paul Thong in September 1984 overran Bentiu and then withdrew, taking hostage three Catholic priests (one Sudanese and two foreigners) from the parish house in Bentiu. The rebels, who held the hostages six weeks, had warned foreigners to leave the area. Expatriates working in development projects had already departed. One hostage was the same Nuer priest, Fr. Zacharia Bol Chatim, who had negotiated the release of oil company hostages the year before. The rebels initially thought the two white priests with him were Americans (i.e., with Chevron). The church again negotiated the release.175

By the end of 1984, while Chevron’s operations were effectively suspended, the Sudanese government defaulted on its debt service payments of U.S. $ 264 million to international creditors, including an approximately U.S. $ 218 million debt to the IMF. As a result, the IMF threatened to declare Sudan ineligible for new loans unless an agreement could be reached regarding resumption of debt payments. The Sudanese government approached its old benefactors, the Saudis and the U.S., to repay the debt for them, without success.176 The government’s inability to pay was due in part to the fact that the Chevron project did not provide any revenue.177

Overthrow of President Nimeiri, Chevron Pulls Out, 1985

Faced with severe economic pressures and internal conflict, the government of President Nimeiri was ousted in an armed forces coup led by Defence Minister Gen. Abdul-Rahman Suwar Dahab on April 6, 1985, after intense pressure was brought on the Nimeiri government by widespread popular protests and peaceful street demonstrations.

Following Nimeiri’s overthrow, the SPLM/A announced it would continue to block Chevron’s operations because it remained at war with the new government. SPLM/A leaders said the U.S. government could hasten the resumption of oil operations by supplying the SPLA with arms and equipment.178

Chevron’s relationship with the interim military government deteriorated. On June 11, 1985, the government warned the company against using Israeli-made goods for its Sudanese oil operations because this violated the Arab embargo on Israel.179 On October 25, Sudanese authorities accused Fred Daniel Clement, an operations manager for the Parker Drilling Company, a Chevron subcontractor in Sudan, of “intercepting [radio] communications” from the office of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Khartoum. Clement was detained and released two days later.180 On December 24, 1985, Chevron announced the suspension of its operations in the Bentiu region because of a need to reassess the “commercial viability” of the project.181

Chevron did not suspend its operations in El Muglad until later. But the company never returned to develop the oilfields of southern Sudan, and it sold out its rights to the entire Sudanese concession in 1992.

Civil War and Political Developments

Elections 1986, Military Coup 1989

The military junta ruled for one year, and stepped down after elections were held in May 1986. Two large pre-existing political parties then dominated the political scene: the Umma Party and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), each based on traditional Sudanese Islamic sects, the Ansar and Khatmiyya, respectively.182 These parties and several smaller ones juggled offices as they formed and unformed alliances until an Islamist-military coup on June 30, 1989, installed Lt. Gen. Omar El Bashir as president. El Bashir remains in power as of the time of this writing. The National Islamic Front (NIF), an Islamist political movement, was the party behind the coup and had participated in past governments as a minority party. It is still in power and has changed its name to the National Congress (NC).183

SPLA Control of Western Upper Nile

The SPLA came from Ethiopia to Western Upper Nile in force in late 1984-early 1985, with its two (newly-formed and –trained) battalions, the Timsa (Crocodile) and the Tiger.184 Following a March 1985 battle between the SPLA/Anyanya II and Baggara raiders at Thargana near Mayom, in which the Baggara were driven from Nuer areas, a relative peace ensued between the Baggara and Nuer. The SPLA/Anyanya II defeat of the Baggara was led by then SPLA Maj. Bul Nyawan, also responsible for the decisive February 1984 Anyanya attack on Chevron facilities.185

By 1986, the SPLM/A dominated most of Western Upper Nile—except for the government garrison towns, some oilfields north of Bentiu, and the Bul Nuer area, which was loyal to local Anyanya II commander Paulino Matiep, a Bul Nuer. The SPLA captured Ler in Dok Nuer territory in March 1986.

Cmdr. Riek Machar recalled with enthusiasm a scouting mission the SPLA made into the Heglig oilfield area in 1987, which demonstrated that the SPLA could reach the Heglig oilfields without detection.186 While the SPLA remained in control of some oilfield areas in Blocks 1 and 2, some displaced Nuer and Dinka began to return to those areas and rebuild their homes. These areas, however, were very remote and received little attention from the outside world.

By 1988, most of Anyanya II was brought into the SPLM/A through negotiations. This was the high point of southern unity, which lasted until 1991. Only Paulino Matiep and his Bul Nuer forces—and militia of smaller ethnic groups such as the Mandari, Murle, and Toposa—remained on the side of the government

When Chevron dismantled some of its rigs in Unity field in 1988, shipping them to Heglig and then on to El Muglad further north, the SPLM/A considered that they had pushed Chevron out of the south: “The SPLA established a firm liberated area and we visited often, searching for the [government] army. The oilfield work was stopped. We stopped them,” asserted one SPLA combatant.187 Another said, “We fought the enemy in Heglig . . . The objective there: the enemy came and took the petrol. We chased them away. The purpose was protection.”188

From a position of strength, with most of the Anyanya II militia in the SPLA, the SPLM/A entered into serious peace negotiations with the government in 1988. A settlement became a distinct possibility, until the 1989 Islamist-military coup, which prevented any peace agreement from being concluded.

Government Use of Paulino Matiep’s Nuer Militia

In the face of SPLM/A successes, the new government honed its preferred strategy of divide and displace/destroy—successfully employed through the Baggara—to regain access to some of the oilfields, and thereby to generate oil revenues to salvage its economy. The government used Nuer commander Paulino Matiep, to whom it referred as a “friend” of the army, as its primary surrogate force to keep to a minimum the presence of the SPLA in Blocks 1, 2, and 4.

Cmdr. Paulino Matiep, then leader of the Anyanya II (government-aligned) forces, had never joined the SPLM/A. His role was to become ever more important in the years that followed. He was strategically placed, in Bul Nuer territory including Mayom and Mankien, to provide a buffer against SPLA incursions into the oilfields from the Dinka and SPLM/A stronghold in Bahr El Ghazal.

In return for Cmdr. Paulino Matiep’s service as an oilfield guard, the Sudanese government provided substantial material benefits to him and his forces. Partisans have described the co-option of Cmdr. Paulino Matiep as an aspect of the government policy of divide, displace, and destroy:

They [Khartoum] created Paulino [Matiep]. They have a policy of interfering with the unity of large ethnic groups, especially the Nuer, who are championing independence. To undermine this, they cause the Nuer to fight among themselves. They must recruit people like Paulino to do this. This is the strategy of the government, to get the Nuer and Dinka to break into groups and fight [among themselves].189

In September 1988, when the SPLA under Riek Machar conducted a coordinated attack on Mayom, successfully capturing the Anyanya II base, the government sent Lt. Gen. Omar El Bashir with army reinforcements to recapture Mayom from the SPLA, which he and Cmdr. Paulino Matiep succeeded in doing. A bond between the two men was forged—more significant when Bashir became president after the military coup of June 30, 1989.190

Government Army Displacement of Nuer from the Oilfields, 1990

The government army, along with the Baggara muraheleen and Paulino Matiep’s militia, served as an agent of displacement. Nuer villagers from Toryat near Bentiu said that the army drove them out of their town in May 1990 after an SPLA attack on the government army garrison in Bentiu.191 Shortly thereafter, an elderly Nuer survivor described to a journalist how some one thousand soldiers appeared following a pre-dawn aerial strafing of the village, in what he deemed was retaliation for the SPLA attack: “What happened is, the jallaba[192] just walked into the village and opened fire, so everybody just ran.” When he emerged from hiding, he found his hut burned and at least one hundred people, about a tenth of the village’s population, dead. The northern soldiers shot his brother, caused many family members to disappear, razed Toyrat, and drove him and the other survivors away. Two of his children died of diarrhea and pneumonia as they fled before the family reached a refugee village near Nasir, 250 miles east of their home. “The jallaba [Arabs] are wanting the oil,” he said. “If the jallaba go away from there, we shall be rich.”193

A young Leek Nuer said he decided to join the rebels because his family and people were displaced by the Arabs in 1990: “Why do people disturb those who do not have guns? . . . Our place was close to the oil, near Yoinyang, to the west of Yoinyang,” not far from Bentiu. They were displaced by soldiers, not by the muraheleen: “The soldiers were looking for oil.”194

SPLM/A Split; Riek Machar Heads Breakaway Faction, 1991

In 1991, the SPLM/A was greatly weakened by the departure of three commanders and their troops, following an unsuccessful attempt to depose John Garang from SPLM/A leadership. Two of the departing commanders were Nuer: Riek Machar, the SPLA zonal commander of Western Upper Nile, and Gordon Kong Chuol of Nasir, Eastern Jikany (in Anyanya II before joining the SPLM/A in 1988).195 John Garang, who remained in command of the SPLM/A, was Dinka. Many of the troops following Riek Machar and Gordon Kong were Nuer, and the split in SPLM/A ranks was perceived as falling along Nuer-Dinka lines.

Following the coup attempt, both sides committed summary executions of soldiers and officers who happened to be in the wrong place, or of the wrong ethnicity, at the wrong time: i.e., Dinka soldiers were killed in territory controlled by the Nuer breakaway faction and Nuer were killed in mainstream SPLM/A territory.196

The dissidents under Riek Machar formed a separatist southern rebel movement initially known as the SPLM/A-Nasir. Its stated goal was independence for the south, rather than the united, socialist Sudan sought by John Garang. By virtue of the 1991 split, Riek Machar became a key player with regard to the oilfields in his home region. His rebel forces claimed all the rural land of Western Upper Nile, excepting the few garrison towns. He nominally controlled even the Bul Nuer area where Paulino Matiep was based; Paulino Matiep joined the breakaway faction because its goal was independence, also the goal of Anyanya II. While this turn of events, along with many others in the war, may seem illogical given Paulino Matiep’s previous relationship with the government, a partial explanation probably lies in the Sudanese government’s covert support for the breakaway faction, pursuant to its policy of ethnic divide and conquer.

Neither the Riek Machar faction nor the Paulino Matiep militia ever attacked the Sudanese government.The clashes between Riek Machar’s forces and the SPLA, however, were frequent, bloody, and unsparing of civilians. The ethnic division was probably sealed in late 1991 by the “Bor massacre.”197

Each side was capable of quick guerrilla strikes against the other’s forces and civilian population. Each knew the terrain and could move quickly on foot. In 1993, the fighting between them so seriously affected the civilian population that it triggered a famine in the “Hunger Triangle” of Upper Nile.198 The Nuer-Dinka fighting on the West Bank of the Nile did not cease until the Wunlit West Bank Nuer and Dinka People-to-People Peace and Reconciliation Conference of 1999 (below).

After the split, traditional southern rules of warfare that were supposed to spare women and children were disregarded.199 Unfortunately for the civilians, the southern leadership (John Garang and Riek Machar) on both sides “reached for the ‘ethnic’ card—and from there the conflict spiraled downwards into numerous independent warlords (many armed by Khartoum), each preying upon one another’s civilian populations.”200

“Traditional” Nuer-Dinka clashes included only the young men who raided cattle, and fought with spears, with fights lasting no more than a few days. Retaliation by the loser would occur when the time was right, or the parties would reach a truce or settlement through their chiefs and sometimes through their prophets. From 1991, however, the bitterness caused by the killing of women and children led civilians on each side in the Nuer-Dinka border war to ask their armed men for support. 201 But once the rebel military forces were engaged in the local conflicts, it became very difficult to work out a truce between the chiefs.202 The latter had no jurisdiction over the rebels, who did not agree that they should pay compensation, the customary manner of settlement for homicide, raiding of cattle, and other damages.

The Riek Machar breakaway faction was supplied with arms and equipment by the Sudanese government from 1991 on, although it denied so at the time.203 The Riek Machar forces never attacked the government’s forces from 1991 until 1999. In 1993, according to one report, the government was negotiating with the Riek Machar group about the sharing of oil revenues, but no agreement was reached.204

By 1996, the Riek Machar forces had signed a political agreement with the government that provided for a southern referendum on its political future to be held four years from an indeterminate date, holding open the possibility of independence for the south. This 1996 agreement was a marriage of convenience, although tenuous. It was enough, however, to open the door to oil development.

111 These former Anyanya were stationed in the southern towns of Bor, Ayod, and Nasir and they mutinied in mid-1983 and went to Ethiopia to join the SPLM/A.

112 Speech, John Garang, March 3,1984, as reproduced in John Garang Speaks , ed. Mansour Khalid (New York: KPI, 1987), p.23.

113 The International Monetary Fund (IMF), an international organization with 182 member countries, was established in 1946 to promote international monetary cooperation, exchange stability, and orderly exchange arrangements; to foster economic growth and high levels of employment; and to provide temporary financial assistance to countries under adequate safeguards to help ease balance of payments adjustment. Its operations involve surveillance as well as financial and technical assistance. See (accessed June 19, 2001)

114 The history of Sudanese oil development is discussed in J. Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins, Revolutionary Sudan: Hasan Al-Turabi and the Islamist State, 1989-2000 (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2003).

115 The company is now known as Chevron Corporation. According to its 2000 annual report, it is “one of the world’s largest integrated petroleum companies . . . involved in every aspect of the industry, from exploration and production to transportation, refining and retail marketing, as well as chemicals manufacturing and sales. It is active in more than 90 countries and employs about 34,000 people worldwide.” Chevron Annual Report, (accessed April 24, 2001). In Africa it is active in Angola and Chad, among other places.

116 Mansour Khalid, Nimeiri and the Revolution of Dis-may (London and Boston: KPI, 1985), p. 306.

117 Alier, Southern Sudan, p. 198. See also Muriel Allen, “Sudan: Oil a Political Weapon in Southern Sudanese Politics,” Middle East Times (London), July 11, 1997.

118 Alier, Southern Sudan, p. 240. According a former governor of Unity State, “Heglig point” was twenty-four kilometers inside the state. Taban Deng Gai, former governor of Unity State, Human Rights Watch interview, Khartoum, July 26, 1999.

119 The balanite tree was known by Dinka and Nuer names, Aling and Pan Thou, respectively. Ibid.

120 The name used in that era was supplied by Eoin S.C. Mekie, Finance Manager, Shell Company of the Sudan Ltd.. Email, Egbert Wesselink to Human Rights Watch, May 2, 2001. The Shell Company of The Sudan, Ltd., the name in use in 2001, is a subsidiary of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of companies. “Shell in Sudan,” (accessed April 24, 2001).

121 Talisman Energy, “Sudan—The Greater Nile Oil Project: Background Paper,” December 1998, p. 4.

122 Alier, Southern Sudan, p. 244. See The Southern Sudan: The Problem of National Integrations, ed. Dunstan M. Wai (London: Frank Cass, 1973), pp. 227, 229, 231.

123 Alier, Southern Sudan, pp. 200, 238.

124 Alier, Southern Sudan, pp. 239-40. In 2000, the government sold gold and copper concessions in Hofrat en Nahas in southwestern Sudan (now in Southern Darfur State) to a firm in the United Arab Emirates, provoking a strong condemnation from the SPLM/A. Samson L. Kwaje, SPLM/SPLA press release, “SPLM/SPLA Strongly Opposes Annexation Of Hufrat Al-Nahas [sic] To Southern Darfur State,” Nairobi, April 20, 2000; “Sudan Grants Gold, Copper Concession to UAE Firm,” Reuters, Khartoum, April 18, 2000.

125 Alier, Southern Sudan, p. 239; see the insightful article published in October 1983 about the weaknesses in the Addis Ababa agreement by Nelson Kasfir, “Why the Addis Ababa Agreement No Longer Regulates the Links between the North, the National Government and the South in Sudan” (Working Manuscript, Dartmouth College, October 1983), p. 19.

126 Alier, Southern Sudan, pp. 241-42.

127 Between 1980 and 1983, President Nimeiri recombined provinces into regions. The three former provinces that made up the single Southern Region were each called regions when the Southern Region was broken up in 1983, using the former names: Bahr El Ghazal, Upper Nile, and Equatoria.

128 Nelson Kasfir, “Why the Addis Ababa Agreement . . . ;” Sharon E. Hutchinson, Nuer Dilemmas: Coping with Money, War, and the State (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), pp. 3-5; D. H. Johnson, The Southern Sudan, Minority Rights Group Report No. 78 (London: MRG, 1988); D.H. Johnson, “North-South Issues,” in Sudan After Nimeiri , ed. Peter Woodward (London: Routledge Press, 1991).

129 Groups calling themselves Anyanya operating out of Ethiopia had existed since at least 1976. They did not agree with the Addis Ababa agreement and the creation of a southern autonomous region. They wanted southern independence instead. Various Nuer SPLA forces were never in Anyanya II: they included Riek Machar (studying outside of Sudan), later SPLA zonal commander of his home region, Western Upper Nile, and Cmdr. William Nyuon Bany (in the Sudanese army), the highest-ranking Nuer in the SPLM/A until his defection in 1992.

130 Nelson Kasfir, “Why the Addis Ababa Agreement . . . ,”p. 16; D.H. Johnson and Gerard Prunier, “The Foundation and Expansion of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army,” in Civil War in the Sudan, p. 124. Earlier threats to transfer a southern battalion from Wau to the north sparked off the first civil war, in 1955; note that the Kasfir article says, “That event [transfer of the Wau battalion] is popularly, if incorrectly, considered to have initiated the civil war.” Actually, the level of armed insurgency during the first Anyanya war was low until the early 1960s, when Maj. Gen. Abboud came to power in 1958 and began to impose Islamization and Arabization measures on the south. Kasfir, “Why the Addis Ababa Agreement . . . .”

131 A soldier in Anyanya, John Garang had been integrated into the Sudanese army pursuant to the Addis Ababa agreement in 1972 and gradually promoted to the rank of colonel. While in the Sudanese army, John Garang earned a Ph.D. at Iowa State University (U. S.) in agronomics, focusing his research on the adverse effects on southern Sudan of the planned Jonglei canal.

132 Alier, Southern Sudan, pp. 264-66; email, D. H. Johnson, April 30, 2001.

133 See Nelson Kasfir, “Why the Addis Ababa Agreement. . . .”

134 Before the mutiny, Col. John Garang and Samuel Gai Tut had been running guns to Anyanya II. Kerubino had been fighting Anyanya II. See D.H. Johnson and G. Prunier, “The Foundation and Expansion of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army,” pp. 117-41.

135 Nuer mutineers from the Sudanese army in Western Upper Nile did not all go to Ethiopia. Some stayed with their arms in their area to protect their people against the Baggara, who were increasing their attacks on Nuer and Dinka communities with the aid of government or Umma Party armament. Some armed Nuer engaged in banditry.

136 One of the first to benefit from this Ethiopian support was Sadiq al Mahdi of the Umma Party, following the failed Umma Party coup attempt in Sudan in 1976. Email, D. H. Johnson, April 30, 2001; M.W. Daly, “Broken Bridge and Empty Basket: The Political and Economic Background of the Sudanese Civil War,” in Civil War in the Sudan, p. 20.

137 Carol Berger, “From Cattle Camp to Slaughterhouse: The Politics of Identity Among Cuban-Educated Dinka Refugees in Canada” (unpublished dissertation for the Master of Arts at the University of Alberta, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, October 2, 2001).

138 Biel Torkech Rambang, Nuer representative in the U.S., Human Rights Watch interview, Washington, D.C., March 6, 2001.

139 These were originally young Baggara armed men who traveled with their families’ cattle herds to provide protection. Muraheleen is the Misseriya Baggara word for travelers, which now refers to all Baggara militias of southern Darfur and Kordofan. The Rizeigat word for this group of young men is fursan, or cavalry, although they are called muraheleen.

The government, which initially came to power in a military-Islamist coup in 1989, incorporated the muraheleen into their army (usually as Popular Defence Forces or PDF), used army officers to train and command them, and conducted joint military operations in the south with them, particularly along the Babanusa-Wau railway.

140 The population around Mayom was about one person per square mile in peacetime, according to a development worker. Roger Schrock, formerly affiliated with the NSCC, Nairobi, Human Rights Watch telephone interview, Iowa, October 28, 1999.

141 Social scientist David Keen observes that political and economic developments starting in the mid-1960s eroded the earlier system of protection by exposing the vulnerability of southern Sudanese to exploitative processes. At the same time these developments provided certain groups in the north, such as the marginalized Baggara, with both the motive and the ability to deepen this exploitation through the use of force. Keen, Benefits of Famine, pp. 18-19.

142 The year 1982 saw the last efforts of the Sudanese government army to keep the peace—in particular the last clashes between government soldiers and the armed Baggara in Western Upper Nile (between Abiemnon and Mayom), wherethe government attempted to quell Baggara raids into the south. Roger Schrock, interview, October 28, 1999. The central government, however, continued to support peace conferences among northern and western ethnic groups who had disputes over cattle raiding and land use. See De Waal, “Militias,” p. 146; Human Rights Watch, “Sudan,” World Report 2000 (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1999), p. 80.

143 The Ngok Dinka lived in Abyei District in southern Kordofan on the northern side of the north/south border. Keen, Benefits of Famine, p. 79. Their displacement appears related to Baggara land and water hunger rather than oil, but the Baggara were nonetheless favored by the government in this contest between Arab and African citizens.

144 Human Rights Watch, Famine in Sudan, 1998:The Human Rights Causes (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1999), pp. 31-35.

145 Among these Baggara were poachers; non-Baggara poachers also entered the Unity oilfield area in the early 1980s hunting for a herd of about seventy-six elephants between Pariang and Bentiu. The hunters caught most of these elephants, and by 1983 only twelve remained. To reach the herd, the nomads came from Muglad through Heglig to Unity, then back by the eastern Nuba Mountains. Roger Schrock, interview, October 28, 1999.

146 All outsiders who have worked with the Nuer and other southerners note that the Nuer, on foot, cover twice as much territory as outsiders, in the same time. Therefore what is two hours walking (or “footing”) for the Nuer is four hours walking for outsiders.

147 Former combatant, Human Rights Watch interview, Kenya, August 3, 2000.


149 Former school administrator, interview, August 1-2, 2000.

150 Ibid.

151 Ibid. Bilpam, Ethiopia, had been the main training camp for southern rebels during the 1955-72 civil war, and was a base camp for Anyanya II in the 1970s and early 1980s. S. E. Hutchinson, interview, April 18, 2001.

152 See former school administrator, interview, August 1-2, 2000. There were nine Bul Nuer sections on the 1954 taxpayers’ list, organized into two main sections, the Nyang (also called Kwac) and Gok. D. H. Johnson, email, April 30, 2001. See former school administrator, interview, August 1-2, 2000.

153 Ibid.

154 The Ruweng (Panaru) Dinka on the east of the Block 1 oilfields tended to stay north of the river in Block 1 Nuer areas because there were no adjacent Dinka communities immediately to the south. Those Dinka who fled the Ruweng area occasionally went east to the Shilluk (Tonja) or to the Nuer areas of Duar and Nhialdiu south of Bentiu and the river. Ibid.

There is a pocket of Ruweng Dinka southeast of Tonja and south of the Nile, at Atar. Atar is an SPLA area from which its Dinka SPLA commander, George Atar, occasionally moves up into the Dinka area in northeastern Western Upper Nile (Block 1).

155 Taban Deng was born in Kerial (Ker-riaal), a Leek village near the current Unity oilfield that has since been destroyed. He identifies himself as (western) Jikany Nuer. Taban Deng Gai, “Talisman False Community Development Claims in Western Upper Nile,” South Sudan Post (Nairobi), February 2001, p. 12; Taban Deng, Human Rights Watch interview, Nairobi, April 9, 2001. The South Sudan Post is the only news periodical dedicated to events in southern Sudan. It is published in Nairobi and its editor is John Luk, an attorney, political activist, former commander in Lou Nuer areas, and sometime member of the SPLM/A.

156 Taban Deng, interview, July 26, 1999. Another source said that in 1983, Chevron paid some compensation to the dislocated when it was building roads. Simon Kun, executive director, Relief Association of Southern Sudan (RASS), Nairobi, July 23, 1999.

157 Hutchinson, Nuer Dilemmas, pp. 34-36. The author conducted fieldwork among the Leek Nuer west of Bentiu and north of the Bahr El Ghazal (Nam) River between December 1980 and February 1983. Sharon E. Hutchinson, Human Rights Watch telephone interview, Madison, Wisconsin, April 18, 2001.

158 Hutchinson, Nuer Dilemmas, p. 5.

159 Africa Watch, Denying “The Honor of Living”—Sudan: A Human Rights Disaster (New York: Africa Watch, 1990), p. 88.

160 Ibid. Kala azar, a parasitic disease also known as visceral leishmaniasis, causes chronic fever, swelling of the spleen and liver, anaemia and diarrhea. If left untreated, more than nine out of every ten people infected die, usually from uncontrolled bleeding. Sudan has suffered many epidemics of the disease in recent history, resulting in tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of deaths. Treatment must be administered by trained health workers at regularly spaced intervals to have effect, and the medicine may be harmful if not used correctly. World Health Organization (WHO), “Leishmaniasis,” Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response, (accessed April 30, 2001)

161 Ibid. The acacia forest is the prime habitat for the sandfly which carries the parasite which causes kala azar; Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Violence, Health and Access to Aid in Unity State/Western Upper Nile, April 2002, pp. 20-23.

162 According to MSF, the four factors associated with the spread of the disease are all related to the war: spread of the sandfly (re-growth of the acacia forests due to reduced cattle grazing led to an increase in the sandfly population, becoming a large vector pool for the parasite); introduction of the parasite (military moving within the area and between Ethiopia and Sudan in the mid-1980s); increased transmission of the disease (due to war and displacement, people seeking safety and foraging for food in the acacia forests); and high susceptibility to the disease (mass starvation in the mid-late 1980s, no health care services, limited humanitarian access). Ibid., pp. 20-21.

163 Alier, Southern Sudan, p. 243.

164 Africa Watch, Denying “The Honor of Living,” p. 88.

165 Carol Berger, “Oil and ‘Spearchuckers,’” Economist (London), 1985 (author’s copy).

166 Carol Berger, “Drive to re-open Sudan oilfield,” Africa Analysis (London), Muglad, Southern Kordofan, June 10, 1988.

167 Muriel Allen, “Sudan: Oil a Political Weapon,” July 11, 1997.

168 Roger Schrock, interview, October 28, 1999.

169 “Funeral Scheduled at Poteau for Oklahoman Shot in Sudan,” Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), December 8, 1983.

170 Alier, Southern Sudan, p. 243.

171 Biel Torkech Rambang, interview, March 6, 2001. Several others gave similar versions of the event, all mentioning Bul Nyawan as commander. “Anyanya II’s commander Bul Nyawan attacked Chevron and closed it down. He was fighting the Baggara since 1981 and closed down Chevron in 1983 [sic]. His deputy in that attack was Paulino Matiep. Also James Lial Dieu, who is with SPDF now.” James Kok, Nairobi representative for SPDF, Human Rights Watch telephone interview, Nairobi, March 15, 17, 2001.

172 “Chevron to Resume Sudan Operations,” Dow Jones News Service (New York), March 9, 1984.

173 Ibid.

174 “Sudan Accord With Saudi Financier Puts Pressure on Chevron to Develop Oil Fields,” Wall Street Journal (New York), November 1, 1984.

175 See John Ashworth, Sudan Focal Point-Africa, Human Rights Watch interview, Nairobi, August 10, 2000. Ashworth was one of the priests. The other foreigner, Fr. Peter Major, reportedly now serves in northern Sudan.

176 “Sudan Won=t Receive Any New IMF Loans,” Wall Street Journal (New York), February 4, 1986. In 1982, the government had received a rescue package from the IMF, World Bank, and donor governments amounting to $ 1.5 billion a year in aid and, at the time of the default, the Sudanese had an accumulated foreign debt of U.S. $ 9 billion requiring annual interest payments of U.S. $ 800 million. David B. Ottaway, “U.S. Suspends $ 194 Million In Aid to Sudan,” Washington Post, February 17, 1985; “Sudan Asks U.S. Help to Pay IMF Debt,” AP, December 29, 1985; “Sudan Asks U.S., Saudis To Pay Arrears to IMF,” Wall Street Journal (New York), Khartoum, December 30, 1985; James R. Peipert, “Sudan Near Agreement with International Monetary Fund,” AP, January 25, 1986. The U.S. did assist Sudan by asking the IMF to help reschedule the debt several times. D. H. Johnson, email, April 30, 2001.

177 David B. Ottaway, “U.S. Suspends $ 194 Million in Aid to Sudan,” Washington Post, February 17, 1985; Charles T. Powers, “Washington Pushes for Reform; Debt, Drought, and Chaos Plague U.S. Ally Sudan,” Los Angeles Times, February 28, 1985. In 1990, the IMF issued a declaration of noncooperation against Sudan, which remained in place until 1999. The IMF suspended Sudan’s voting and related rights in 1993 and did not reinstate them until 2000, after the government had made certain reforms and paid some IMF debt, and oil production and export had begun. IMF, “IMF Lifts Declaration of Noncooperation from Sudan,” News Brief No. 99/52, Washington, D.C., August 31, 1999; IMF, “IMF Lifts Suspension of Sudan’s Voting and Related Rights,” Press Release No. 00/46, Washington, D.C., August 1, 2000. Sudan’s problems with the IMF coincided with its failure to develop its oil resources. See, e.g., IMF, “Sudan: Recent Economic Developments,” Staff Country Report No. 99/53, Washington, D.C., June 1999.

178 Blaine Harden, “Rebel Chief Coming for Talks, Sudan Says Leader’s Aides Deny It, Say War Is On,” Washington Post, April 19, 1985.

179 “Sudan Warns Chevron over Israeli Goods,” San Francisco Chronicle, June 12, 1985. Chevron responded that the import of Israeli parts had been unintentional and the parts would be sent back to England.

180 Apparently, en route to his office, Clement stopped his car in front of the PLO office to listen to a company message on his car radio, commonly used for communications within Sudan. This was mistakenly seen as a surveillance operation. “Sudanese Detain, Release American,” San Diego Union-Tribune, October 28, 1985.

181 “Chevron to Suspend Exploration in Sudan,” Dow Jones News Service (New York), December 24, 1985.

182 The Umma Party continues to draw most of its support from the Ansar (Sufi) religious brotherhood in Omdurman and western Sudan, and the DUP most of its support from Khatmiyya (Sufi) brotherhood in the central Nile valley and eastern Sudan.

183 An internal power struggle led to the formation of a breakaway party, the Popular National Congress Party, in June 2000. Mohamed Osman, “Sudan Islam Leader Forms New Party,” AP, Khartoum, June 27, 2000.

184 The Timsa Battalion was commanded by former Sudanese army officer Arok Thon Arok (deceased 1998), and the Tiger Battalion by Salva Kiir Mayardit, now chief of staff of the SPLA.. See, e.g., James Kok, interviews, March 15, 17, 2001; Biel Torkech Rambang, interview, March 6, 2001.

185 While they were still in Anyanya II in the early 1980s, Maj. Bul Nyawan and his deputy, Cmdr. James Lial Dieu, tried to fend off the Baggara. Bul Nyawan joined the SPLM/A after it arrived in Western Upper Nile. Both sides, the SPLA and the Baggara muraheleen, sustained heavy losses in the March 1985 battle but subsequently the Baggara enterred into a peace agreement with Riek Machar, SPLA zonal commander. Bul Nyawan, who is fondly remembered by the Nuer, was killed in that battle. Biel Torkech Rambang, interview, March 6, 2001; James Kok, interviews, March 15, 17, 2001; RASS officer and former school administrator, interview, August 1-2, 2000.

186 Riek Machar, former SPLA zonal commander of Western Upper Nile, Human Rights Watch interview, Nairobi, August 8, 2000. He said his forces, after walking several days, were exhausted when they reached Heglig and withdrew in the face of the fresh government troops based at the oilfield.

187 Elijah Hon Top, interview, July 26, 1999.

188 Former soldier under Tito Biel, Human Rights Watch interview, Kenya, August 21, 1999.

189 Taban Deng, interview, July 26, 1999.

190 Paulino Matiep allegedly saved Omar El Bashir’s life on at least one occasion. During a traditional Nuer celebration in 1989, Lieutenant General Bashir (then serving in Mayom) reportedly joined in firing his gun into the air and accidentally shot dead a young Nuer woman. Her relatives were ready to kill him when Cmdr. Paulino Matiep intervened, paying cows to the family in compensation. President Sadiq al Mahdi accused Lieutenant General Bashir of killing the girl. RASS officer and former school administrator, interview, August 1-2, 2000. There are several similar versions of this episode.

191 Deborah Scroggins, “Sudan: Waiting for Majaa Reet Goach: Nuer Tribesman,” Atlanta Journal and Constitution, March 10, 1991, based on interviews in Rok-Rok, Sudan on December 5, 1990. In 1999, there were three garrisons in Bentiu: one near the civilian hospital (two battalions), one near the primary and secondary school complex (one battalion), and one at the end of the airport on the Bahr El Ghazal (Nam) River (one battalion). Thomas Duoth, SSDF military intelligence official, Human Rights Watch interview, Nairobi, July 22, 1999.

192 Jallaba is an Arabic term for merchant, trader, or importer; in nineteenth and twentieth century Sudan it applied to itinerant petty merchants. In southern Sudan it has the additional (historical) meaning of slave trader, and applies generally to all northern Sudanese. Jallabiya refers to their typical robe of white cotton.

193 Scroggins, “Sudan: Waiting for Majaa Reet Goach.” The interviewee also told the journalist, “The jallaba want us to move away from there. The oil was found that time by the white people. But it was not functioning well. The jallaba, he is fighting for the oil. He cannot leave the oil there. That is why he is fighting people there. And we also know the oil is ours. That is why there is heavy fighting.” Scroggins, Human Rights Watch telephone interview, Atlanta, May 15, 2000.

194 Former combatant, interview, August 3, 2000.

195 The third commander, Dr. Lam Akol, is Shilluk. He has written about his experiences inside the SPLM/A in Dr. Lam Akol, SPLM/SPLA: Inside an African Revolution (Khartoum: Khartoum University Press, 2001).

196 See Nyaba, The Politics of Liberation in South Sudan, p. 94. Nyaba blames the breakaway faction for initiating these summary executions and the attacks on civilians that followed.

197 The Riek Machar faction and Nuer armed civilians (the White Army) conducted a massive series of raids into Dinka Bor County in Upper Nile, massacring about 2,000 civilians in the course of looting hundreds of thousands of cattle in 1991. Independent interviews at the time suggested that the raiders may have been partly inspired by perceived favoritism of the relief community, which was believed to be allocating more food to the Dinka than the Nuer. Douglas H. Johnson, The Root Causes of Sudan’s Civil Wars (Oxford: James Currey, 2003), pp. 94-99.

198 Human Rights Watch/Africa, Civilian Devastation: Abuses by All Parties to the War in Southern Sudan (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1994), p. 146. The triangle was formed by the villages Ayod, Waat, and Kongor, all in Upper Nile on the Dinka/Nuer border on the East Bank of the Nile. The first two villages are Nuer, the third Dinka.

199 Jok Madut Jok and Sharon E. Hutchinson, “Sudan’s Prolonged Civil War and the Militarization of Nuer and Dinka Ethnic Identities” (Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, and University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1999), pp. 10-11. By some estimates this fighting, until it was brought to a close, was more deadly than the SPLA-Sudanese government fighting. Ibid.

200 Jok and Hutchinson, “Sudan’s Prolonged Civil War,” p. 6.

201 Jok and Hutchinson, “Sudan’s Prolonged Civil War,” pp. 10-12. In fact, women and children had been killed in some Nuer-Dinka clashes long before 1991. But these tactics were not considered fair, and they were not the norm.

202 The subordination of the chiefs to the military had begun in the 1930s. D. H. Johnson, email, April 30, 2001.

203 Nyaba, The Politics of Liberation, p. 3. A RASS official said that they only received arms from the government from 1991-93. RASS official, August 2000 (anonymity requested).

204 According to the Indian Ocean Newsletter, Khartoum sought 100 percent of the revenues for ten years and Cmdr. Lam Akol, representing the Riek Machar faction, proposed a 50-50 split of oil revenues for two years. No agreement on oil revenues was reached with this faction. “Sudan: Significant Air Crash,” Indian Ocean Newsletter (Paris), September 11, 1993.

<<previous  |  index  |  next>>

November 2003