In 1992, Arakis Energy Corporation, a Canadian oil company, with its partner State Petroleum acquired Blocks 1, 2 and 4 of the much larger concession that had belonged to Chevron. Yet, although it succeeded in making several new oil discoveries and beginning shipments of crude oil to a domestic refinery, Arakis was never able to raise enough capital to finance the project on its own; it was charged with insider trading and failing to disclose material facts during an illusory funding scheme in 1995.
In April 1996, Riek Machar and another rebel commander signed a Political Charter with Khartoum, formally abandoning the rebel movement. This agreement neutralized the rebel forces in Western Upper Nile/Unity State that might have threatened the Arakis oilfields.
In December 1996, Arakis sold a 75 percent interest in its project to three state-owned oil companies (from China, Malaysia, and Sudan), with which it formed a consortium called the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC). In March 1997, GNPOC agreed to build a 1,540-kilometer pipeline from the oilfields to a marine export terminal on the Red Sea. Pipeline construction began in 1998 and involved a Chinese subcontractor and several European companies. The pipeline and the export terminal were to be owned by GNPOC.
In April 1997 the Sudanese government entered into the Khartoum Peace Agreement with Riek Machar’s forces and several other smaller rebel factions, but not the SPLM/A. Riek Machar was appointed president of the Southern States Coordinating Council (SSCC), to govern the south, and also headed a new army (SSDF) created from the former rebel armies that signed the Khartoum Peace Agreement. Paulino Matiep, who had joined his Anyanya II forces with Riek Machar’s breakaway faction in 1991, was promoted to major general in the Sudanese army in 1998 and his militia, directly supplied by the government, was given a name: South Sudan Unity Movement/Army (SSUM/A).205
Forced population displacement in Western Upper Nile/Unity State started up again in 1992, with the sale of the concession to Arakis, and heated up further in 1996-97, with the signing of the Political Charter and the Khartoum Peace Agreement. The government launched muraheleen/army offensives that displaced thousands of civilians, particularly from the areas around the mostly Dinka villages of Pariang and in Ruweng County in general, in and near the Arakis oilfields. Insecurity and Sudanese government flight bans hindered humanitarian organzations’ operations in the area.
Relations with the U.S. worsened during the Arakis period. In 1993, the U.S. State Department designated Sudan as a country that supported terrorists, and U.S. President Clinton on November 3, 1997 signed an executive order imposing economic sanctions on any U.S. person doing business with Sudan.
The Islamist-military government that took power in 1989 was determined to develop Sudan’s oil potential. In 1992, it prevailed upon Chevron to sell its rights in the concession.206 On June 15, 1992, eight years after suspending its operations in southern Sudan, Chevron sold its 42-million-acre (170,000-square-kilometer) concession for an estimated U.S. $ 23 million to a private Sudanese oil company, Concorp International.207 Concorp then sold off the exploration and production blocks to different companies. On December 7, 1992, the small Canadian company Arakis Energy Corporation announced that it had formed a partnership with State Petroleum Corporation, also based in Vancouver,208 and that the partnership had acquired Blocks 1, 2, and 4 of the Chevron concession from Concorp. 209
James Terrence Alexander, then chief executive officer of Arakis, called the project “the opportunity of a lifetime for a company like Arakis” because it could bring about its transformation from a small to a mid-sized, independent oil company.210 But the deal raised concerns from the press and the industry. Arakis primarily operated in the Appalachian Mountains in the U.S. The situation in Sudan was far more hostile and had forced a much larger, more experienced, and wealthier oil company to leave because of major security risks and questions about the project’s commercial viability.211
In July 1993, Arakis announced that it would assume full ownership over the project—buying out its partner State Petroleum —and concentrate on raising the estimated U.S. $ 750 million to $1 billion needed to finance the Sudan project.212 Arakis proved unable to raise enough capital to complete the project, however, though it did succeed in making new discoveries at Toma South and El Toor (Athonj) oilfields in Block 1.213
Despite the collapse of a mooted Saudi-backed finance deal for Arakis in 1995, later found by the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) to have involved false and misleading statements and insider trading,214 some activity continued on the ground in Sudan. Road building began north of Bentiu in 1996, in preparation for moving in heavy equipment. In June 1996, Arakis brought eight wells on stream at Heglig, subsequently shipping low levels of crude oil to a small refinery at El Obeid in Northern Kordofan for domestic consumption.215 One journalist who visited the drilling site wrote,
Despite this small success, Arakis failed to raise sufficient funds for the larger project, while it remained under government pressure to produce. On December 6, 1996, Arakis sold 75 percent of its interest in the project to three other companies, with which it formed a consortium called the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC), whose value Arakis put at approximately U.S. $1 billion.217 The GNPOC Exploration and Production Agreement was planned to last thirty years (until 2026).218 Arakis was to be the operational partner. The three other companies were state-owned: the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC), Malaysia’s Petronas Carigali Overseas Sudan Berhad (a subsidiary of Petronas Nasional Berhad, the national petroleum corporation of Malaysia), and Sudan’s state-owned oil enterprise Sudapet Limited. They would own 40, 30, and 5 percent of the project, respectively, and the remaining 25 percent would remain in Arakis’ hands.219 CNPC and Petronas put up further project financing until Talisman entered the picture in 1998.
On March 1, 1997, the Arakis-led GNPOC consortium agreed to build an estimated 1,540-kilometer export pipeline from the oilfields north to a new marine port for oil supertankers on the Red Sea. The Crude Oil Pipeline Agreement (COPA) called for the GNPOC consortium to construct, own, and operate this pipeline and the supertanker export terminal, as well as field surface facilities.220
In late 1997 Arakis sold off its U.S. assets in response to the tightening of U.S. sanctions on U.S. companies doing business in Sudan. However, Arakis was unable to find financing for its share of the venture, and agreed to sell its interest in GNPOC to Talisman Energy in August 1998.221
Displacement forced by the army started up again in the 1992 dry season, the same year that Arakis and State Petroleum acquired Blocks 1, 2, and 4 of the dormant Chevron concession. In February 1992, according to an investigation undertaken at the behest of the Canadian government in 1999, “military offensives caused the deaths of 35 people (mostly civilians), the theft of about 500 cows, some tukls [homesteads] burned and people forced out” of Pandakwil, Kong, Panlokwoc, Lok, Kwoc, and Panlock-Bibiok, hamlets in the oilfield area north of Bentiu (Blocks 1 and 2).”222 Many of those displaced, however, returned and rebuilt. The government and its muraheleen allies then undertook a five-month offensive to dislodge the civilians permanently. From November 1992 (a month before the sale to Arakis and State Petroleum) through April 1993, these forces looted, burned, killed, and abducted people around the town of Heglig in Block 2.223
This period saw at least 213 deaths, sixty-three abductions, instances of rape, and 1,237 head of cattle stolen. In all, fifty-seven hamlets were burned, and 1,300 people displaced to government of Sudan-controlled areas before SPLA forces caused the Sudanese government troops to withdraw to Bentiu and El Obeid towns.224
The government launched a new offensive at the beginning of the next dry season, in December 1993. This time, the army hit hamlets close to Heglig: Panlok, Kwok, Nhorial, and Panagwit. Twenty-six residents were reportedly killed. Survivors maintained that the government aimed to clear the area so the SPLA would not remain near the oilfields. “It was after this that the area around Heglig was more or less deserted except for [government of Sudan] forces,” the Canadian delegation reported.225 The Dinka village of Maper in Block 1 was renamed Munga after government troops deployed there and the oilfield named Munga was developed.
Shortly before the formation of the GNPOC consortium in December 1996, displacement accelerated again. In October 1996, the government launched a muraheleen/army offensive that displaced many thousands in Ruweng County and looted their cattle and grain. Some of the displaced went into what witnesses referred to as “peace camps,” a term usually used in the Nuba Mountains to describe sites in which forcibly displaced persons were required to live and provide free labor to soldiers and others. The camps were said to be in Pariang and Athonj (El Toor).226
This displacement continued. In late January 1998, a relief agency assessment team visited Ruweng (Panaru) County in the Padit area just east of Block 1, in Block 5A, an area inhabited mostly by Dinka. Ruweng County straddles Blocks 1 and 5A.227
The assessment team was told by the residents and the displaced persons there that two months before, in November to December 1997, a government army force from the garrison town of Pariang had attacked sixteen villages northwest, west, and southwest of Pariang (Block 1). The displaced provided the names of those, their own villages.228 Most of the villages were looted and burned down, cattle were raided, and some elderly and young children—those not fast enough to run away—were killed.
The assessment team visited one of the villages identified by the displaced, Monykwo. There they counted sixty-eight burned down tukls (homes); the church and six tukls were still intact. The sorghum was partly harvested. The team visited the population of Monykwo in the acacia forest east of the Diir River: they saw ten small camps, with thirty to forty people (three or four families) sharing one camp. There were no food supplies, hardly any mosquito nets or blankets, and the families lacked shelter. The people interviewed there and in a displaced area to the north (who had fled from the burned village of Ling), said that they had been displaced because of the attacks, during which they had lost most of their property, such as clay pots, mosquito nets, and blankets.
The people of this area did not suffer at government army hands only. These Dinka residents of the Padit, Ruweng County, area, who had always been identified with the SPLM/A, reported to the 1998 assessment team that they had been attacked three times after 1991 by Riek Machar’s government-supported forces.229 They said that Riek Machar’s forces had occupied the area for five months in 1993, burning and looting homes. They told the agency team that the Riek Machar forces again occupied the area, from October 1996 to April 1997, raiding cattle as they left, which had caused considerable internal displacement.230 They distinguished between the attacks by Riek Machar’s Nuer forces (at all times in question associated with the government) and the more recent government attacks (November-December 1997) conducted by Sudanese government army soldiers garrisoned in Pariang.
The agency team treated 768 patients during the 1998 assessment. It noted that most of the people needed treatment for more than one disease, and the report commented, “It was striking to see how sick the people were.”231 Maternal and child mortality rates were very high: among the population surveyed, 15 percent of the mothers died during delivery, and 43 percent of the children. None of the children questioned went to school. There were no schools in the whole area, nor any trained teachers available. There was one Catholic priest, and twenty-two villages had a chapel each. By this time, there were two dry season landable airstrips, in Padit and Gumriak. This entire area, including the relief airstrips, was the target of government army attack again in May 1999.
The population of Panaru (Ruweng County) in the 1983 census was 79,000, much higher than the 55,000 estimated population in 1994.232 The agency assessment team cited the causes of the drop in population as disease and migration due to war.233 Though the county commissioner gave an estimate of 55,000 population for 1998, the 1998 agency assessment team surveyed the area and estimated that population had been reduced to the 25,000-30,000 range.234 This was the direct result of years of repeated government militia and army raids and flight bans.
In addition to deploying the army and Baggara militia to clear out and “protect” the oilfields by displacement of the residents, the Sudanese government implemented a strategy of dividing and buying off those southerners occupying strategic territory. It carefully laid the necessary political groundwork. A peace agreement with Riek Machar’s Nuer-plurality breakaway faction, whose territory extended into, or was close enough to threaten, Blocks 1, 2, and 4 and much of the Muglad and Melut basins, was achieved. It constituted the jewel in the crown of the government’s divide-displace-and-destroy strategy to secure the southern oilfields for development.
In April 1996, the government signed a Political Charter with Riek Machar, head of the force by then known as the South Sudan Independence Movement/Army (SSIM/A).235 The only other rebel signing that Political Charter was Cmdr. Kerubino Kwanyin Bol, a Dinka former SPLA high commander who joined Riek’s forces in 1993 after escaping from several years of incommunicado detention by the SPLA.236 The Political Charter provided for a referendum “to determine the political aspirations of the people of southern Sudan.”237 On its face, this represented a change in the government’s hard line on the unity of Sudan. One year later, in April 1997, the Political Charter was incorporated into a peace agreement between the SSIM/A and the government. A number of smaller rebel factions also signed the 1997 Khartoum Peace Agreement.238 The government touted it internationally as the solution to the war, and lambasted the SPLM/A for not signing.
Riek Machar argued he had no choice but to sign the agreement with the government after the SPLM/A prevented his group, the SSIM/A, from joining the broad opposition coalition, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), formed in Asmara, Eritrea, in 1995.239 Others “thought that he had been forced to do this because of the failure of the Ethiopians, Eritreans, or Americans to extend military assistance to his faction.”240 Whatever the reason, he made his deal, and took many with him.
The 1997 Khartoum Peace Agreement called for the establishment of a Southern States Coordinating Council (SSCC) to govern southern Sudan prior to a self-determination referendum to be held (after certain conditions were met) in four years. President Bashir appointed Riek Machar president of the SSCC and assistant to the president of Sudan. Riek Machar also became head of a new political group he formed, the United Democratic Salvation Front, comprising most of the ex-rebel parties to the Khartoum Peace Agreement. In 1999, when the government lifted its ten-year ban on political associations, the UDSF registered as a political party in Khartoum.
Riek Machar also assumed the role of commander-in-chief of the SSDF, the army formed by the rebel groups that had signed the Khartoum Peace Agreement. The SSDF also—nominally—included the forces of Cmdr. Paulino Matiep, who joined Riek Machar’s forces in 1991. The 1997 Khartoum Peace Agreement provided that the SSDF “shall remain separate from the National Army and be stationed in their [SSDF] locations under their command.”241 The agreement declared that federal powers included armed forces and defense affairs and national security;242 it reserved public order, state security, and good governance to the states.243
According to the Khartoum Peace Agreement, as interpreted by the Riek Machar group, the SSDF was to provide security in the south pending the referendum on the south’s political status. This group understood that the territories they had “liberated” from the 1980s until 1997 were to be theirs to govern and protect exclusively, including the facilities of any oil company doing business in their area.244
The SSDF duly waged war on behalf of the government.245 The SSDF later insisted that the government could not have fended off the SPLA’s attempt to capture the Eastern Equatorian garrison town of Torit in September-October 1998—nor retaken Torit in late 2002—without SSDF support. However, the SSDF complained that it only received equipment from the government of Sudan as long as the government verified that SSDF units were engaged against “the Dinka” (SPLA). As stated by the SSDF’s chief of staff: “Immediately after the Khartoum Peace Agreement was ratified, we received some little help: rifles, ammunition. We only received this when we were fighting. If no fighting, we did not receive anything.”246
The government was, moreover, nervous about the UDSF’s self-determination agenda. Accordingly, it moved in the army and government-supported Islamist militia (mujahedeen, holy warriors) to guard the area north of Bentiu, Blocks 1 and 2, at a time when the relationship between the UDSF/SSDF and the government was still new.
These troops posed political problems for the Riek Machar UDSF government of Unity State, which in early 1998 implemented an agricultural scheme in the Dinka village at Athonj, in Block 1, where drilling for oil was underway at the El Toor oilfield.247 UDSF state authorities wanted to expand the agricultural scheme, but the army informed them that no settlement would be allowed so near the drilling location. The army then displaced the Dinka from Athonj in October 1998, according to the UDSF officials.248
Tensions had already broken out between Paulino Matiep and Riek Machar’s factions in late 1997 over the campaign for governorship of Unity State. The government took advantage of the circumstances by continuing to separately fund Paulino Matiep and his militia to keep the Riek Machar group from controlling any oilfields. In addition, as long as the Nuer fought each other, conditions would not be “right” for a referendum on southern autonomy. Many in the UDSF/SSDF suspected that this was another government objective.249
After the Khartoum Peace Agreement, the government administratively combined its garrison towns with the rebel hinterland in each of the ten southern ministates delineated in 1994. In the southern state of Unity (al Wihda), or Western Upper Nile, the garrison town of Bentiu was folded in with former rebel territory.
The International Petroleum Company (IPC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Lundin, was granted the Block 5A concession in February 1997, two months prior to the signing of the Khartoum Peace Agreement but ten months after Riek Machar signed the Political Charter with the government. Lundin (IPC)’s operations began in Block 5A in late 1997-early 1998.
The National Islamic Front (NIF) de facto ruling party scheduled gubernatorial elections in all the twenty-six states of Sudan for 1997. This did not really constitute an exercise in democracy. The electorate was extremely limited: only state ministers and others appointed by the central government, in the south less than forty people in each state, were to vote. The government held elections for the ten southern states on the same day in early December 1997. Not all the elections actually took place in the territory of the southern states, because the government did not even control a garrison town in several of them, which were entirely in SPLM/A control. Nor was the nominating process democratic—even though, to the outrage of some NIF members, Riek Machar did not endorse the NIF candidates for governorship, but ran a UDSF slate in opposition in many southern states. The UDSF candidates won several governorships, including that of Western Upper Nile/Unity State.250
The alliance dating from 1991 between Paulino Matiep and Riek Machar broke down in armed clashes in September 1997, during the campaign for the governorship of Unity State. Riek Machar’s UDSF did not back Paulino Matiep’s gubernatorial candidate for Unity State, Nuer NIF member Paul Lily. Riek Machar instead backed his own relative and close advisor Taban Deng Gai. Some Nuer faulted Riek Machar for starting this fight by moving in on what had been acknowledged to be Paulino Matiep’s “territory” at the 1994 Nuer reconciliation conference at Akobo, Upper Nile (chaired by Riek Machar), where Paulino Matiep was confirmed as governor of Western Upper Nile.
At first Paulino Matiep responded to this incursion on his power by detaining five UDSF political representatives (who were also commanders) sent by Riek Machar from Khartoum to Bentiu to campaign for Taban Deng. They spent two days in jail on Paulino Matiep’s orders in September 1997, before Riek Machar ordered their release.251 Fighting erupted between the Paulino Matiep and Riek Machar forces days later when the Riek Machar group tried to free other of its members detained by Paulino Matiep.252
Civilians interviewed by relief agencies months later reported that Paulino Matiep’s forces attacked the trading center of Rupnyagai (border of Block 1), Nhialdiu (Block 5A), and three other villages on September 17, 1997, and looted and burned everything. The 1997 harvest was not completed because of the fighting.253 Cmdr. Paulino Matiep’s forces pushed the Riek Machar SSDF forces back to the Duar area (Block 5A) south of Bentiu.254
In October 1997, Cmdr. Paulino Matiep sent a delegation from Khartoum to resolve the situation. Things stayed quiet for a few months. But when his candidate lost the December 1997 gubernatorial election, according to one observer, “Paulino declared war” on Riek Machar’s SSDF.255 Fighting started again. One news article reported that some 200 Nuer fighters were killed in pitched battles in Western Upper Nile/Unity State in January 1998.256 According to Riek Machar, however, only thirty-eight people died in more than a week of clashes over the governorship of Western Upper Nile/Unity State that month.257
Rather than force Paulino Matiep to accept the results of the “election” and rein him in, the government seized on this rivalry for control of Unity State to stoke the fires of ethnic fighting among the Nuer. Sometime before 1998, the government promoted Paulino Matiep to the rank of major general in the Sudanese government army.258 Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep announced the formation of his South Sudan Unity Movement/Army (SSUM/A), based in Mankien, in March 1998. He built up his forces with government resources, including weapons and ammunition, and recruitment (forced and voluntary) of Bul Nuer boys and men from his own area. Paulino Matiep had training centers for new recruits in Nhialdiu and Koch. His troops numbered perhaps as many as 10,000.259
Since both Paulino Matiep and Riek Machar factions were southern, indeed both Nuer but of different ethnic groups, the government—having exacerbated the situation—publicly characterized the fighting as “tribal clashes,” remote from the central government and not controllable by it. The government promoted the myth of the “ungovernable south” sure to plunge into anarchy that would end in a “Rwanda” scenario—without steady oversight from Khartoum.260 By selectively arming ethnic factions—providing arms and ammunition to a Nuer government militia to fight another Nuer government-armed faction—the government’s actions were actually making that scenario more, not less, likely.
Riek Machar appealed in writing to President El Bashir several times in 1998 and 1999 to stop arming Paulino Matiep, who was making war on Machar’s forces. Riek Machar even appealed to international oil company executives to pressure the government to remove Paulino Matiep, whom Rick Machar described as “our problem.”261
205 Hereinafter the SSUM/A will be referred to as the Paulino Matiep militia, in order to limit the use of acronyms.
206 Robert DiNardo, “Private Sudan Co. Buys Chevron Stake,” Platt’s Oilgram News (New York), June 16, 1992.
207 “Chevron Sells Exploration Interests in the Republic of Sudan,” PR Newswire, San Francisco, June 15, 1992. This was an enormous loss for Chevron, which together with Shell had sunk about U.S. $ 1 billion into the project. As a result of the sale, Concorp acquired all petroleum exploration and production rights in the concession, which included the exploration blocks in the Melut and Muglad Basins. Concorp was said to be partly owned by Mohamed Abdallah Jar Al Nabi, a Sudanese national. “APS Review Oil Market Trends,” Arab Press Service Organisation, June 7, 1993. Concorp then sold blocks off the concession to various buyers, with the required approval of the Sudanese government.
Concorp, a private multinational company registered in Sudan, Uganda, the U.S., and India, later became the owner of the first private-sector oil refinery in Sudan, located in the Khartoum suburb of Al Shajarah, inaugurated on June 30, 1999. “Sudan’s First Private Sector Oil Refinery Inaugurated,” AFP, Khartoum, June 30, 1999.
208 Headed by a Pakistani national, Latki Khan, State Petroleum was, according to an Arakis officer, “a paper corporation formed by Canadian Muslims primarily to seek the Sudanese concessions that had been given up by Chevron.” “Arakis’ Partner Gets Approval in Sudan,” Platt’s Oilgram News (New York), July 9, 1993.
209 “Little-Known Firm in Canada Granted Sudan Properties,” Platt’s Oilgram News (New York), December 8, 1992.
210 “Sudan Financing Is Reduced,” Platt’s Oilgram News (New York), New Orleans, March 30, 1993.
211 “Arakis’ Partner Gets Approval in Sudan,” July 9, 1993.
212 “Arakis Partner Gets Approval in Sudan,” July 9, 1993 (referring to approval of development plans).
213 Arakis spent only U.S. $ 125 million in the five years between 1993 and 1998, compared to the almost U.S.$ 499.5 million in capital expenditures that Talisman put into Sudan in two and a half years, 1998-2000—almost four times the investment in half the time; Talisman Energy, “Background Paper,” pp. 4, 8; Talisman Energy press release,“Talisman Generates a Record $ 2.4 Billion in Cash Flow $ 906 Million in Net Income,” Calgary, March 6, 2001.
214 Arakis reported it had secured financing from a Saudi prince. Its price jumped, some insiders profited, then it developed that neither the money nor the royal connection was there, according to the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC)’s findings. Arakis had to pay a fine of Canadian $ 250,000 or about U.S. $ 200,000, and several persons associated with the scheme were penalized. BCSC, “In the Matter of the Securities Act (R.S.B.C.) 1996, c. 418, and In the Matter of Arakis Energy Corporation,” Agreed Statement of Facts and Undertaking, May 12, 1998. Former chief executive officer James Terrence Alexander had to pay Canadian $1.2 million in fines for his role in these securities law breaches. Ibid.; “In the Matter of James Terrence Alexander,” Agreed Statement of Facts and Undertaking, Vancouver, B.C., February 23, 1999; Allan Dowd, “Former head of Canada oil firm fined for insider trades,” Reuters, Vancouver, February 24, 1999.
215 “Sudan Pipeline Operational,” Petroleum Economist (London), August 1, 1999, p. 15.
216 Pratap Chatterjee, “Canada-Sudan: Activists Condemn Oil Company’s Operations in Sudan,” Inter Press Service (IPS), San Francisco, August 26, 1997, citing Martin Cohn, a reporter at the Toronto Star who had visited the site.
217 Arakis Energy Corporation press release, “Arakis Forms Sudan Consortium,”Canadian Corporate News, December 6, 1996.
218 Petronas Corporate Affairs press release, “Prime Minister Opens Petronas Office and Launches Petronas Operations in Sudan,” Khartoum, May 15, 1998.
219 James Norman, “Arakis Pulls In Two Hefty Partners for Sudan Work,” Platt’s Oilgram News (New York), December 9, 1996.
220 The agreement awarded a management consultant services contract for the pipeline and export terminal project to a 60 percent subsidiary of Petronas. “Prime Minister Opens Petronas Office . . .,” May 15, 1998.
221 “Sudan Deal Signed by Arakis, Government, and Partners,” Platt’s Oilgram News (New York), March 4, 1997; Paul Knox, “Fighting in Sudan Threatens Oil Project—Despite Ottawa’s Pleas, Calgary Firm Won’t Move Workers to Safer Site,” Globe and Mail (Toronto), February 14, 1998; Starr Spencer, “Arakis, Unable to Raise Funds, Forced to Seek Sale,” Platt’s Oilgram News (New York), July 17, 1998.
222 Harker report, pp. 10, 47.
223 Ibid., p. 10.
224 Ibid., pp. 47-48.
225 Ibid., p. 48.
226 Ibid., p. 11. Athonj (El Toor) village was later forcibly removed by the government soldiers. See below.
227 Since 1983, Ruweng (Panaru) County had been without any assistance from the outside world whatsoever. The security situation did not allow for any project to be implemented, even an emergency project, although the need was great. In 1993 and in 1994 it was assessed for civilian health and nutrition status by different agencies operating from the southern sector of Operation Lifeline Sudan. At the time relief airstrips were in Nyarweng, Awet, Ruweng (Panaru) County, Western Upper Nile. Security continued to be the main problem for those wishing to bring help to the seriously ill population. In 1994 and 1995 the Italian medical NGO Comitato Collaborazione Medica (CCM) visited the area three times, bringing medicine and medical equipment, intending to build a hospital in the Padit area. In 1995 two CCM doctors were captured by a government militia and taken to Khartoum, bringing to an end the work of CCM in the area. Also as a result of denial of airstrip clearance from the government of Sudan, no NGOs visited the area between 1995 and January 1998, when an agency assessment team visited; a U.N. agency assessed food needs in December 1997. Human Rights Watch, Behind the Red Line: Political Repression in Sudan, pp. 334-38; Human Rights Watch, Civilian Devastation, pp. 149-51; Agency assessment, Padit, Ruweng County, Western Upper Nile, Sudan, January 23-February 2, 1998 (anonymity requested). (An alternative spelling for Padit is Padiet, used in the assessment.)
228 The sixteen villages were Ling, Awuc, Monykwo, Panpeth, Nyanjunga, Biem, Nyongjac, Kaigo, Ruckshuk, Panret, Kong, Pashuak, Lele, Agarak, and Patuok. Agency assessment, Padit, 1998.
229 1993 report annexed to Agency assessment, Padit, 1998.
230 Agency assessment, Padit, 1998. These attacks remain to be investigated in more detail.
232 Agency document, “Nyarweng Narrative Proposal,” accompanying August 10-14, 1994 assessment (anonymity requested).
234 Agency assessment, Padit, 1998.
235 The SPLM/A-United (earlier the SPLM/A-Nasir faction of rebels led by Riek Machar) was renamed the SSIM/A at a special convention following a Nuer reconciliation conference held in Akobo, Upper Nile in 1994.
236 From 1987-92, Kerubino was held in a series of SPLA detention centers, in prolonged arbitrary incommunicado detention for alleged coup plotting. He escaped and joined Riek Machar’s faction and later created his own force in Gogrial, a garrison town in Bahr El Ghazal. Since 1994 he also allied with the government of Sudan. See Human Rights Watch, Famine in Sudan, pp. 14-15.
237 The Political Charter was negotiated by Taban Deng, later governor of Unity state in December 1997, and Riek Gai, governor of Jonglei at the same time. SSDF officer, Human Rights Watch interview, Wunlit, Bahr El Ghazal, March 1, 1999.
238 Also called the Sudan Peace Agreement. Signatories in addition to Riek Machar and Commander Kerubino included Cmdr. Kwac Makuei Mayar (South Sudan Independents Group, Dinka of Aweil), Dr. Thisphohis Ochang Loti (Equatoria Defence Force), Samuel Aru Bol (a southern opposition politician with the Union of Sudan African Parties (USAP), based in Khartoum;a Dinka from Rumbek, he attended Wunlit and died in Khartoum in 2000), and Arok Thon Arok Kongor (Chairman, Bor Group, Dinka from Bor; he was an officer in the Sudanese army after the first Anyanya war, before joining the SPLA; he died in an accidental crash of a government military plane in 1998). Cmdr. Kwac Makuei was the target of an apparent government assassination attempt in Aweil in early 1998 and fled to Khartoum (he had already defected twice from the SPLM/A). His thirteen Dinka bodyguards were captured at his Aweil home when he was away. They were taken to the army garrison and summarily executed by northern government soldiers. Kwac Makuei, Human Rights Watch interview, Khartoum, July 26, 1999.
Signing the agreement shortly after Riek Machar were a Nuba Mountains faction, led by Muhammad Harun Kafi, and a Shilluk faction headed by Dr. Lam Akol. See Human Rights Watch, Famine in Sudan, p. 56.
239 The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) included many political parties and armed groups from the north, east, and west of Sudan, but the SPLM/A was the only representative of the south.
240 Nyaba, Politics of Liberation, p. 110.
241 Khartoum Peace Agreement, Ch. 6, Sec. 8 (i), Khartoum, April 21, 1997.
242 Ibid., Ch. 3, Sec. 3 (a) ((2) and (19).
243 Ibid., Ch. 3, Sec. 3 (b) ((1).
244 Elijah Hon Top, interview, July 26, 1999.
245 This involved attacks on the SPLA in Kongor, Upper Nile, as well as fighting at Pagok on the Ethiopian border against Ethiopian government forces and Nuer and Anuak Ethiopian militias friendly to the SPLA. Battles also took place against the SPLA in Fangak, Jokau, Mading, and Maban (Adar and Punj), Eastern Upper Nile. Elijah Hon Top, interview, July 26, 1999.
246 Elijah Hon Top, interview, July 26, 1999.
247 An oil industry study supports this time frame of activity in this oilfield. El Toor #3, Block 1A, Unity Exploration Area (Muglad Basin) was spudded on February 20, 1998 and completed as a suspended oil well on March 23, 1998. IHS Energy Group, “Sudan Annual Synopsis 1998,” scouting report, http://www.ieds.com/Scout_Reports/synopsis98/esasyn/sudtxt.htm (accessed November 15, 2000). (To spud is defined as “to begin to drill an oil well.”) This was only one of the wells in the El Toor field.
248 The removal or relocation of the village Athonj is borne out by satellite images that Talisman commissioned to prove that there was no displacement from its areas. According to testimonies of villagers, soldiers came twice to remove people; those witnesses were removed on the second time, in 1999. See below, “Government Army Displaces Villages Near El Toor Oilfield, Block 1, October 1999.” “Kalagate Imagery Report, Sudan Oilfield Exploration Concession,”April 2001, published by Talisman Energy, Calgary. Inside the cover is the report of Geoffrey John Oxlee, Kalagate Imagery Bureau, “Report KIB/035-1/2001, Subject: Sudan Oilfield Exploration Concession,” April 2, 2001, p. 7 and Figure 4: El Toor-1 & 4.
249 Elijah Hon Top, interview, July 26, 1999.
250 See Human Rights Watch, Famine in Sudan, pp. 58-60.
251 SSDF intelligence officer who was one of the detainees, Human Rights Watch interview, Wunlit, Bahr El Ghazal, March 1, 1999; Biel Torkech Rambang, Human Rights Watch interview, Washington, D.C., March 14, 2000.
252SSDF officer, interview, March 1, 1999; James Kuong Ninrew, Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency, Human Rights Watch interview, Nairobi, February 16, 1999.
253 Relief agency assessment in Nhialdiu, Leek district, Western Upper Nile, May 12-15, 1998, dated May 16, 1998 (anonymity requested).
254 SSDF officer, interview, March 1, 1999.
255 James Kuong, SSDF officer, Human Rights Watch interview, Nairobi, February 16, 1999.
256 “Kerubino Gives NIF a Run for Their Money while SPLA Watches,” Sudan Democratic Gazette (London), Year IX, No. 93, February 1998. The Sudan Democratic Gazette was an opposition paper published in London for several years by Bona Malwal, a veteran southern politician and minister of information during the period of southern autonomy.
257 “38 Reported Dead in Fighting Between Sudan Forces,” Reuters, Khartoum, January 19, 1998.
258 The Sudan Democratic Gazette noted this promotion in 1996.
259 Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep was reportedly given 2,000 AK 47 rifles by the government of Sudan and nine 12.7mm AAAs (heavy machine guns) in 1998. The next year the government gave this militia 3,000 AK 47s, along with sixty PKMs (machine guns) and ammunition for them. Thomas Duoth, interview, July 22, 1999.
260 State Minister of Foreign Affairs Ghazi Salah Eldin Atabani, Human Rights Watch interview, Khartoum, May 4, 1995.
261 Riek Machar, interview, Nairobi, August 8, 2000.