The situation in the oil concession area known as Block 5A is quite similar to the situation in the GNPOC concession, Blocks 1, 2, and 4, in that they are both oil-rich areas of Western Upper Nile/Unity State and the government has displaced civilians from them to clear the way for foreign oil operations. However, the oil companies investing in the two concessions are different, with one exception, Petronas. The time frame has been different, too. No oil-related forcible civilian population displacement took place in Block 5A until about 1998, when the new consortium led by the Swedish company Lundin started oil exploration there. Indeed, no war-related displacement at all took place there until 1998, according to relief agencies operating out of Ler for a decade.262
Unlike its counterpart in Blocks 1, 2, and 4, Lundin’s security team at first worked with the local government officials who were Riek Machar loyalists. Lundin hired persons this local government recommended, including some police as security guards for its operations.
In 1998, Paulino Matiep’s government-supported militia attacked towns and villages in Block 5A, weakening the position of Riek Machar. Riek Machar’s SSDF, although also government-backed, was kept short of arms and supplies by the government and did not have adequate means to defend against the Paulino Matiep attacks. The latter’s forces looted most larger villages and towns and burned down the main structures, including clinics run by NGOs. Residents, unused to any fighting in their area, fled to the toic during the wet season to wait out the fighting; many died of malaria there. Most returned home at the beginning of the dry season to salvage what they could and prepare for planting.
Chevron had explored in Block 5A. The Nuer of Block 5A naturally were aware of its activities there. According to one Nuer chief, the company discovered oil in Bang (also known as Darchiem Chuol), four hours northwest of Koch, in 1982.263 But shortly after the February 1984 rebel killing of three expatriate oil workers, the oil exploration activity ceased.
On February 6, 1997, the International Petroleum Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lundin Oil AB, signed an exploration and production-sharing agreement with the Sudanese government, granting IPC (Lundin) rights to Block 5A, adjacent to and south of Unity oilfield in Block 1.264 IPC, the operating or lead partner, held 40.375 percent of the Block 5A partnership. Petronas Carigali Overseas Sdn Bhd, owned by the Malaysian state oil company, held 28.5 percent; OMV (Sudan) Exploration GmbH, owned by OMV AG, one of the largest companies in Austria, held 26.125 percent; and Sudapet Limited, owned by the Sudanese government, held 5 percent.265 Lundin (IPC) also owned 10 percent of Arakis’ stock until Arakis was acquired by Talisman in October 1998.
In May 1998, IPC, a Canadian corporation, was folded into its parent, Lundin Oil AB,266 a Swedish corporation owned by a “well-known name in the oil business, the Geneva-based oil and minerals investor Adolph Lundin and his family.”267 In 2002 a corporate asset shuffle with Talisman occurred, but the Sudan assets of Lundin remained in the control of and under the same family management as before 2002.268
The development of Block 5A was related to the approaching completion of the oil pipeline facilities nearby in GNPOC’s concession.269 Without the pipeline, the oilfields in Block 5A would have remained as Chevron left them, undeveloped, attracting little military attention. This was an area the government had long ago conceded to the rebels as of no strategic interest and having a particularly difficult, swampy environment; but with the GNPOC pipeline only a short distance away, it became economically feasible to develop oil there. Block 5A shot up in strategic importance and became a military priority for the government.
Lundin’s own promotional material stressed the value of the GNPOC pipeline to Block 5A270: the GNPOC export pipeline, with its large (100,000 barrels per day) reserve capacities available for third party users, was “the most important technical achievement for the future of the project,” which lay approximately seventy-five kilometers southeast of the GNPOC Unity field.271 Talisman also admitted that the pipeline was necessary to make development of Block 5A feasible, and that on several occasions representatives of Lundin had informally discussed tying production areas in Block 5A into the GNPOC pipeline.272
The most visible early Lundin explorations in Block 5A took place in the toic, in a location the Jagei Nuer know as Ryer, 273 about ten miles west of the Nile and a distance east of Duar. Lundin gave this drilling site the name “Thar Jath”; Thar Jath is a village or port on the Nile not far away.274
The consortium also had a seismic operation based on a barge with containers on the Nile, in the vicinity of the port. The headquarters of Lundin’s operations in Block 5A were at this port (Thar Jath) southeast of Ryer. According to local sources, the temporary center of these operations in 1998 had been in Guk,275 with company buildings but no rigs.276
Lundin (IPC) sent out staff in October-November 1997, including security consultants from Rappaport, a private security company in London, to set up the operation some seventy-five to one hundred kilometers south of Bentiu, in Block 5A. They intended to start with seismic tests; although they had such data from Chevron, it was fifteen years old.277 “Seismic acquisition commenced in 1998 and to date [October 2000] over 1,485 kilometres of data have been acquired,” according to Lundin.278
Lundin had two exploration locations, called “highland” (Ryer/Thar Jath) and “lowland” or “swamp” (barges on or near the Nile). In 1998 and 1999, the oil company cleared a non-tarmacked road from Bentiu to Duar, Guk, and Ryer/Thar Jath. Ryer was forty minutes by car east from Guk over this road, according to a security consultant working for Lundin. He said that they built the road parallel to the old road but did not use the old road because it had been landmined. In 1998, the oil company began to use helicopters, which cut the travel time from Heglig to the Lundin Thar Jath/Ryer location down to one hour from five or six hours, and avoided the danger of landmines.279 One Nuer observer reported that the government of Sudan put in a military airstrip to defend the oil company at Ryer/Thar Jath.280
Lundin and its subcontractors employed some Guk villagers for manual work but, according to one chief, Chinese and Arab workers were brought in “by the hundreds” to replace the Nuer.281 Chinese subcontractors working for the Lundin consortium reportedly were doing surveys, explorations, and road-building around the Nile, east of Duar and Koch, starting in 1998.282
At different times security for this project was provided by practically everyone—the SSDF, local police, the government army, and private consultants—until May 1999, when the SSDF attacked the Ryer/Thar Jath facility.283
After the Sudanese government army retook the Ryer/Thar Jath drilling site in May 1999, the rebels never recaptured it. Nevertheless, that location has not produced any oil to date, on account of the war.
In 1998, as the oil exploration was getting off the ground again in Block 5A, Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep’s government-backed militia pushed the civilians out of the main area of exploration. As his forces swept across Block 5A from north to south, temporarily displacing tens of thousands, there was some fighting with Riek Machar’s SSDF (also allied with the government at this time but short on ammunition), but most fighting involved contact with unarmed civilians.
Paulino Matiep and Riek Machar were, on one level, continuing their struggle for the governorship of Unity State. At the bottom, however, the fight concerned whether Riek Machar’s group would share in the rewards of the concession through providing security for oil companies working in oil-rich Block 5A.
The UDSF/SSDF was determined not to be passed over as it had been with Blocks 1 and 2.284 Lundin’s own mixed security service included guards selected by Khartoum and police from Bentiu (UDSF/SSDF). Lundin also had its own expatriate security consultants.
But the army and the Sudanese government’s minister of mining in Khartoum were not happy with Lundin’s association with the UDSF Unity State government, according to the governor.285 It seemed that powerful persons in the central government and armed forces wanted forces under their direct control to be the exclusive security provider for all oil operations. 286 Khartoum’s definition of security, as demonstrated later, was an extensive cordon sanitaire, cleared of all civilians, stretching for kilometers beyond each oil rig, oil road, and piece of equipment. Riek Machar’s definition of security was to leave his constituents in their homes and provide local police with their ears to the ground to guard against attacks. Riek Machar lost this battle. The northern government used the Lundin presence on the ground as a platform on which to build its first military toehold in the oilfields south of Bentiu.
After a Chinese subcontractor installed a large compound in Ryer/Thar Jath in 1998 and moved in its employees, the people living in the area were told to move by Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep, who gave this message to the chiefs. As one of them reported, Paulino Matiep gave no reason other than that the oil “operations were going to be here so you have to go away, the cows will destroy everything.”287 Everyone left the Ryer/Thar Jath area and Paulino Matiep’s men tore down or burned all but two houses, according to the same Nuer chief. Those who moved received no assistance with trucks or tents and no compensation of any kind. Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep gave them only a brief time to leave, then burned the houses. The people were allowed to take only their cows, the chief said.
While a devastating famine among the Dinka in Bahr El Ghazal to the west was gripping the attention of relief agencies in Sudan in mid-1998, Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep turned his Bul Nuer militia on Riek Machar’s SSDF troops and on civilians, looting and engaging in scorched earth warfare. According to relief agency records, Paulino Matiep’s militia attacked Nhialdiu (south of Rupnyagai) and two other villages in February 25, 1998. In April 1998 six other villages in the Nhialdiu area were burned and looted. This attack occurred before the May 7, 1998 NGO assessment was to take place in two villages to the west and south of Nhialdiu. The NGO assessment recorded these fact, and noted that the health center in Nhialdiu was looted, burned, and destroyed, along with all its health records. 288
This fighting took place away from the Bul Nuer home area, and as described below much occurred where Lundin intended to drill and where Chevron had earlier explored, down into Ler and Adok, the Dok Nuer area. Bul Nuer, according to one Nuer chief, did not traditionally fight the Dok Nuer, except when women were raped or disputes arose between families. Yet the government continually attempted to pass off this fighting between Paulino Matiep and Riek Machar as “traditional tribal fighting,” which the chiefs insisted it was not.289
The raids and looting continued. On June 27, 1998, , the civilians fled a Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep attack on Duar town, a Jagei Nuer area. Paulino Matiep’s forces burned the compound of the medical NGO Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the building housing the local authority (called the parish), and the school (assisted by UNICEF). The soldiers followed this pattern—looting and burning the important structures—in all Jagei Nuer locations, observed a local relief official. Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep’s troops raided three big Jagei cattle camps, taking all the cattle they found in the camps. They killed goats and cows for food; they stripped captured women of their clothes.290 The WFP calculated that about 25 percent of the original population of Duar moved out of the area following this fighting and these attacks, some to islands in the Nile river, 291 thought safe because they were inaccessible.
Even oil company workers were not exempt: one night, Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep’s men ambushed one of Lundin’s trucks and took prisoner the four Sudanese employees in it. Two escaped and two were summarily executed. The police found their bodies the next day: they had been stripped, bound, gagged, and shot in the back of the head. It appeared that Paulino Matiep’s men had been looking for the two, who were “from the wrong tribe.”292
People displaced from Koch, another Jagei Nuer area, said Paulino Matiep’s forces attacked the area three times in 1998. In Koch, the troops burned churches, and in the surrounding villages they destroyed an estimated fifty small chapels, both Catholic and Presbyterian, four clinics, five schools, and six local government posts (called stations). This destruction began on or about June 28, 1998.
Some civilians fled just once, and stayed away during the wet season, from June to December 1998, in the toic not far from their homes. Families split up. Some family members, particularly the elderly, children, and adolescents, remained behind; in one family in the village of Patit, five to ten-year-old children were left in hiding with their grandmother, who was too old to move. Young men fled to avoid forced recruitment. Many young women, afraid of abduction and rape by Paulino Matiep’s soldiers, ran into hiding.293
In early 1998, the government sent its troops south into Riek Machar’s home area in Ler. Up to that time Ler town had been untouched by the war and by combat, except for one instance in 1992.294 A large brick hospital built by the British prior to independence still provided facilities for medical teams; MSF-Holland had worked in the region since 1988.295 Everything south of the government garrison town of Bentiu, including the towns of Duar, Koch, and Ler, had been abandoned or lost by the government to rebel forces by 1986. Riek Machar had about 9,000 troops in this area of Western Upper Nile/Unity State.
An officer present in Ler town in April 1998 reported that he and Cmdr. Peter Paar Jiek of the SSDF heard at the last minute that a company of “Arab” (government) soldiers were on their way to Ler from Bentiu. On April 20, 1998, the SSDF forces intercepted the government army company (about eighty soldiers) three hours north of Ler, in Koch.296 The northern army contingent, asked for written orders, could produce nothing but claimed that UDSF Unity State Gov. Taban Deng had cleared the troop movement and had assigned them a seventy-person SSDF escort. They said they were going to Ler in order to receive and guard a visit by President Omar El Bashir on April 21, 1978, the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Khartoum Peace Agreement.297
Around the same time some fifteen Sudanese government troops arrived at Lundin’s “highland” location, Ryer/Thar Jath, where Lundin was readying to drill for oil. The soldiers demanded fuel to get to Ler so that they could protect President Bashir for his visit. The army contingent brought four-ton trucks and pickups with 50 mm canons. Lundin’s security consultants gave them half a drum of diesel for their trucks to be rid of them.298
When government soldiers and trucks full of weapons arrived near Ler, the SSDF commanders assigned them an exposed place outside Ler town, in Payak (this since became the location of the military garrison and airstrip); they would not let the army occupy the Ler school as requested.299
President Bashir did not arrive in Ler on April 21, 1998, nor ever. Nor did Governor Taban Deng or Riek Machar arrive on that day.300 The local SSDF commander then asked the government troops to leave Ler, but the second lieutenant in charge refused. According to one SSDF commander, “[t]hey tricked us: they said Omar Bashir wanted to visit Ler. . . . Our forces told them to go back to Bentiu and they refused.”301 Meanwhile, the local SSDF kept these northern troops under tight control. They would not let them deploy their guns, unload weapons from the trucks, go to the market, or mix with local women. The government soldiers were outnumbered and afraid. They radioed their commanders that they had been captured.302
SSDF Cmdr. Tito Biel then arrived with two northern army officers and said that the government soldiers could stay in Ler. He said that Gov. Taban Deng had promised they would be there only for the celebration of the signing of the Khartoum Peace Agreement.303
The local SSDF set a deadline for the government soldiers to pull out: ten days from April 27, 1998. The soldiers did not meet that deadline. They never left Ler, although for the first year they did not move from Payak, where they created an airstrip and a garrison. Upon noticing that northern troops would bring additional soldiers back with them when they were allowed to go to Bentiu for rations, the local SSDF forbade this, and the number of government soldiers was reduced back to seventy.304 The army contingent, however, was strategically positioned to shelter and resupply General Paulino Matiep in his attacks on Ler that started two months later.
The SSDF regarded the location of Sudanese government troops in Ler as “a clear violation of the Khartoum Peace Agreement,”305 under which the army’s movement was to be restricted and coordinated by a joint military technical committee from Khartoum and the SSDF. But none of the military committees envisaged in the Peace Agreement had been established, according to the SSDF: “Not even a ceasefire committee was formed. Nothing was done regarding security arrangements as promised in the Peace Agreement.”306
Ler town was attacked and captured three times in 1998 by Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep’s government forces, in June, July, and August, with considerable damage to the infrastructure, as well as burning and looting of homes. By July 1998, 250 houses, fifty shops, and 2,500 cattle compounds had been destroyed in Ler town, according to a government-run newspaper quoted by Associated Press.307 Paulino Matiep’s soldiers burned the roof of the large brick hospital (built by the British and run by MSF). They looted the hospital and NGO compounds. They burned the Catholic church and its grinding machine. A witness saw them put grass over an NGO car and set it on fire. The Paulino Matiep forces demolished seven permanent buildings and used fuel canisters, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), and 60mm mortars to burn down the market.308 They also destroyed Riek Machar’s brick house in Ler, according to a relief coordinator.309
A chief who stayed in Ler until his house was burned said of Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep’s soldiers:
The civilians fled rapidly while the attackers were looting and there was not a great loss of life. Paulino Matiep’s government forces in Ler reportedly killed an old man, Amilo Chuol. A witness who saw the body, wearing a UNICEF water services uniform, said that he apparently had been shot in the back as he was fleeing. The bullet had pierced through his lungs and he had fallen on his face. Another observer saw the body a few days later, still face down.311
The SSDF, chronically short of ammunition, evacuated Ler, while the government soldiers stayed in their garrison. Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep’s forces did not remain in the area but withdrew after a few days of plundering and burning;312 they looted the nongovernmental organizations of property such as generators, some of which were reportedly given to the garrisoned government soldiers to make their Payak barracks more comfortable.313 The Paulino Matiep militia abducted women and girls, according to an Adok chief.314
Because of the fighting and destruction, and despite the need, relief agencies had to pull out of the Western Upper Nile/Unity State region on June 29, 1998.315 An Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) security officer and several NGO representatives, who visited Ler on July 6, 1998 to inspect the damage to the NGO and U.N. compounds, confirmed that all had been looted and burned.316 A relief worker observed that the Sudanese government sent Antonov aircraft carrying soldiers, weapons, and ammunition to Ler after the June fighting began. The government cargo aircraft came in two rotations with reinforcements after the SSDF fled the town.317
Lundin’s security consultants had been accustomed to driving to Ler, where they made friends with some of the NGOs. They had supplied one medical NGO in Ler with gas for its refrigerators. Later, they returned to Ler and saw that the NGO facility had been destroyed and abandoned, and the Ler hospital had been razed to the ground. Similar destruction was evident in the other larger towns, including Duar. Many smaller villages had been abandoned.318 A Sudanese relief worker estimated that fifty-nine villages outside Ler had been burned and looted; soldiers had forced women and girls to be porters, sometimes stripping them of clothing.319
With little delay, Riek Machar denounced Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep’s attack on SSDF forces in Ler and elsewhere,320 describing the fighting as “fierce.”321 A Paulino Matiep spokesman claimed that Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep had agreed to a ceasefire that Riek Machar had broken by preemptively attacking Paulino Matiep’s forces at a camp near Bentiu; the attack, he said, had been repelled.322 The spokesman denied that Paulino Matiep’s forces had burned villages or caused loss of life.323
The SSDF later claimed that it had made a point of fighting against Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep, but not against the government troops, out of a desire to maintain the 1997 Khartoum Peace Agreement. Paulino Matiep himself described the fighting as a disagreement between him and Riek Machar over the military leadership of the SSDF.324 The Sudanese government sent a fact-finding mission to Western Upper Nile/Unity State in early July 1998 to investigate what it referred to as “clashes” between Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep’s forces and Riek Machar’s SSDF. The delegation attributed the attacks strictly to southern rivalries, even though it found “vast damage was inflicted on government installations and development projects while 49 people have been killed.”325
Yet the army garrison at Ler (Payak) had acquiesced in the assault, noted by witnesses who spoke to Human Rights Watch. Although the fighting was going on near their base, the Sudanese army made no move to intervene or stop the fighting. It was the war of their ally Paulino Matiep, and they benefited from Paulino Matiep’s actions. One chief from Ler observed that the cattle stolen by Paulino Matiep’s troops were kept in the army garrison,326 and another chief reported, “When we were defeated, the government of Sudan soldiers found our cows, goats, and furniture when they were burning the houses. They brought these goods to the base. They [the army soldiers] profited from the fighting in 1998, and they did not even fight!327
Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep again attacked Ler on July 16, after many residents had returned and the WFP had arrived to distribute food. Two WFP workers had to flee the July 16 attack, wading waist-deep through mosquito-infested swamps at night, guided by members of the local community. They were evacuated to safety by OLS on the morning of July 17.328
The Sudanese government announced on July 21, 1998, that Paulino Matiep and Riek Machar had agreed on a “cessation of hostilities” and had pledged not to fight each other.329 Some civilians who evacuated Ler on July 4 returned after July 26 when Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep’s forces pulled out. The wet season was well under way.
But Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep’s government-backed forces attacked Ler yet again in August, for the third time that year, despite the ceasefire. People reported abductions and random killings of livestock. “The Matiep troops had finished off all the goats in the area in three months,” one young man complained. “It began with the bulls. They ate from them until the evacuation and took some as loot. They cut down crops for passage as they crossed, leaving.” The older boys, taken previously for heavy portering, had gone into hiding. Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep’s troops therefore pursued others to serve as porters—boys as young as nine or ten, who had stayed behind because they thought they were safe.330
Conditions in the toic, where the civilians hid, were miserable during the wet season; it rained heavily and malaria-carrying mosquitoes thrived. The displaced often had to sleep on woven grass mats floating on the water. There was not enough food for everyone. One woman, who went into hiding in the toic that year with twenty family members, came out with fifteen: five died in the toic, three adults and two children.331 The civilians did not rebuild houses in Ler because they feared Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep’s forces would burn them again. Instead, they settled for less rain-resistant coverings under the trees.
On October 12, 1998, the SSDF attacked Paulino Matiep’s forces in Nhialdiu, “killing a good number [before they] fled across the river to a place six hours from Nhialdiu.” Then Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep declared peace, which lasted from October 12, 1998 until May 1999.332
Witness accounts of the forced displacements were borne out by the reports of relief agencies. The WFP reported that the fighting around Nhialdiu, which it said lasted from June 1997 to November 1998, displaced around 70 percent of the Nhialdiu community, who went to Bentiu and Mankien. After the hostilities diminished, some returned to Nhialdiu, joined there by displaced persons from other areas.333
U.N. and private relief agencies also issued appeals and press releases to bring attention to the acute situation in the oilfield areas of Western Upper Nile/Unity State. On May 1, 1998, Oxfam announced that it was setting up an emergency program in that state “to respond to 25,000 displaced people through insecurity.”334
On May 5, 1998, CARE, which worked in the government garrison towns of Bentiu and Mayom, reported that “20,000 Sudanese have fled the war-wracked towns of Unity State in Southern Sudan.” According to CARE, Unity State had “been the center of fighting between rival factions of the South Sudan Independence Movement [Riek Machar forces],” while “[g]overnment-controlled Bentiu, Mayoum and Rubkona are mostly inaccessible to aid workers providing relief in the South.”335 On May 13, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) announced that it was sending emergency aid to assist famine victims in Sudan, while the government would “continue to put pressure on all parties to achieve a negotiated settlement.”336
On July 7, 1998, MSF-Holland declared in a press release that insecurity in Western Upper Nile/Unity State was seriously hampering the delivery of urgently needed food assistance. The fighting had forced MSF, the WFP, and other humanitarian agencies to evacuate the area, and looting of compounds by government soldiers had forced the shutdown of key programs, including the MSF hospital in Ler,337 bringing MSF’s kala azar, tuberculosis, and mobile clinics there to a halt.338 Subsequently, the government of Sudan reported increased cases of kala azar, particularly in the endemic areas of government-held Mayom and Pariang.339
On July 10, 1998, the WFP made a special appeal to the “international community to take urgent measures and do everything it can to persuade all the combatants to put down their weapons and end this senseless suffering” in Western Upper Nile/Unity State. It said the fighting was preventing delivery of badly-needed food to thousands of people and in many areas it was so constant that WFP could not even gain access to assess how many people might be in need of food.340 Fighting did not subside until a few months later.
The OLS reported in late July 1998 that Western Upper Nile/Unity State “experienced pre-famine conditions, in almost all cases as a result of military activity.”341 In Western Upper Nile/Unity State, the OLS warned, “where intra-factional fighting caused constant displacement, global malnutrition rates reached as high as 40 percent at mid-year.”342
In December 1998, the WFP delivered the first food in more than four months to tens of thousands of hungry Sudanese in Ler and Mankien. A WFP representative observed:
The WFP said that Ler, once a hub for food and health services, “is now a ghost town.” Although some residents were returning, they feared future attacks. The WFP confirmed that “militia factions have raided Ler three times since June , looting and burning homes and destroying schools, a hospital and clinic. Crops have been trampled, burned and eaten by the raiders. Renegade forces have also stolen and slaughtered thousands of cattle.” The WFP estimated that the fighting forces had stolen a total of 24,000 cattle, leaving families with no assets to trade or slaughter. The salvaged grain had been shared with others and was almost entirely depleted.344
The initial U.N. appeal for emergency funding for Sudan in 1998 anticipated that in Western Upper Nile/Unity State it would need to provide relief food for “27,290 displaced and war-affected beneficiaries during the hunger gap period from April to July.”345 Following the destruction and displacement caused by government and Paulino Matiep’s militia’s attacks on villages of the Leek, Jagei, and Dok Nuer, the appeal was revised upward and called for relief food to 151,850 beneficiaries in Western Upper Nile/Unity State, 346 more than five times the number of beneficiaries initially projected.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) classified Western Upper Nile/Unity State as one of two “areas of acute emergency” in all of Sudan, the worst classification possible.347 The other area was Bahr El Ghazal, where famine struck almost a million people that year.348 And it was the area of Unity/Upper Nile/Jonglei that topped the list for more OLS personnel evacuated due to fighting than anywhere else in 1998. As a result, by the end of 1998, humanitarian coverage in this region was the lowest of all major OLS areas.349
This time of “acute emergency” was the very time Talisman was reviewing the possibility of becoming lead partner in GNPOC, which concession included Mayom, Bentiu, Rubkona, and Mankien, all affected by the displacement, disruption, and hunger caused by the fighting—funded on both sides by the government.
262 Distant from the oil explorations in Block 5A, intermittent but deadly civilian fighting over cattle occurred between the Nuer and the Dinka on their Western Upper Nile/Bahr El Ghazal border after 1991. See Jok and Hutchinson, above.
263 Chevron also discovered oil among other places in Adok, a port on the Nile, south of Bentiu; in areas south of Adok and north of Nyal; in Marol, in the Sudd one hour on foot southeast of Ler; and in Makuir, south of Ler and east of Adok. Gideon Bading Jagei, head chief of an Adok section, Human Rights Watch interview, Nyal, Western Upper Nile, August 20, 1999. Most of these were in Dok Nuer areas. Bang is in Leek Nuer and Nyal in Nyuong Nuer territory.
264 In Sudan, Lundin Oil AB initially used its wholly owned subsidiary, the International Petroleum Company (IPC), and then used its wholly owned subsidiary IPC Sudan Ltd. Later its successor company used the name Lundin Sudan.
265 Lundin Oil press release, “Lundin Oil Spuds First Well in Sudan,” Business Wire (Vancouver), April 8, 1999.
266 After the Canadian NGOs began pressing the Canadian government to act on Arakis, IPC (then listed on the Vancouver Stock Exchange (VSE) of Canada) merged with Sands Petroleum AB of Sweden. Sands, the surviving corporation, was not listed on the VSE. Both were controlled by the Lundin family, and the company was renamed Lundin Oil AB in May 1998. With its head office in Geneva, it was listed on the U.S.-based NASDAQ and the Stockholm Stock Exchange until the reshuffle with Talisman in June 2001, below. Adolph Lundin “controls a web of small exploration companies, some of which are run by his Vancouver-based son Ian.” Mathew Ingram, “Signs of Life on Planet Arakis,” Globe and Mail (Toronto), Calgary, June 23, 1998.
267 Muriel Allen, “Sudan: Oil A Political Weapon,” July 11, 1997.
268 In June, 2001, Talisman and Lundin agreed to a corporate rearrangement whereby Talisman would buy the outstanding shares of Lundin and Lundin would spin off to a new company its Sudan and Russian assets, to be owned by the Lundin family and others. The Sudan assets included Lundin’s interests in Blocks 5A and 5B and its 100 percent interest in the Halaib Block in northeast Sudan bordering (and contested by) Egypt. The new company, called Lundin Petroleum AB, started trading on the New Market at Stockholmsborsen but was not listed on any U.S. stock exchange. At that time proposed legislation on Sudan oil-related capital market sanctions that might apply to Lundin was pending in the U.S. Congress. Lundin Petroleum retained the same board and.management team as Lundin Oil. For simplicity, Lundin Petroleum is also referred to as Lundin. Lundin Petroleum, “Report for the period ended December 31, 2001,” http://www.Lundin-petroleum.com/Documents/qr_4_2001_e.pdf (accessed May 28, 2002); Lundin Oil press release, “Lundin Oil Recommends Acceptance of Public Cash Offer from Talisman and Spins Off Key Exploration Assets into a New Swedish Oil Company,” Stockholm, June 21, 2001.
269 Lundin noted that the GNPOC 1,540 kilometer-long pipeline, with capacity to pump 250,000 barrels of oil per day (and an expected maximum capacity of 450,000 barrels per day with the addition of several pump stations), was completed in August 1999. Lundin Oil, “Sudan: Operation Fact Sheet—October 2000,” www.Lundinoil.com/eng/sudan.html (accessed November 28, 2000).
270 Lundin Oil press release, “Lundin Oil Spuds First Well in Sudan,” .
271 Lundin Oil AB: Sudan, http://www.Lundinoil.com/eng/operations/sudan/index.html (accessed November 28, 2000).
272 Talisman CEO Jim Buckee, Human Rights Watch interview, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, February 3, 2000.
273 When the U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in Sudan in 2001 cited oil-related destruction near Rier [Ryer], Lundin responded that “Rier” was not in Block 5A. Human Rights Watch has concluded that Ryer is the same location where the company had its first drilling operation, which the company called “Thar Jath.”
Not only do former residents identify the location of the drilling operation—and Lundin admittedly had only one drilling rig in place at the time—but the Nuer forces which attacked the drilling rig in 1999 said that it was in Ryer.
A 1939 map drawn up by the British War Office shows that Ryer is the only village identified in that vicinity. Map, “Sudan,” by Geographical Section, General Staff, No. 2692, Published by the War Office, London, 1914, 4th Ed. 1939.
A British district commissioner in the area, Percy Coriat, listed “Tharjath & Ryer” in his handing-over notes to his successor in 1931, where Ryer was listed as a Jagei Nuer area of about 5,195 (male) taxpayers. Document 4.1, reprinted in Percy Coriat, Governing the Nuer: Documents in Nuer history and ethnography, 1922-1931, ed. D. H. Johnson (Oxford: Journal of Anthropology Society of Oxford, 1993), p. 161. The spelling Human Rights Watch uses for the location of the first Lundin exploratory drilling in Block 5A is “Ryer.” This is the oldest spelling found.
Ultimately Lundin discovered that its rig was indeed in a place known as Ryer. Christine Batruch, Lundin, Human Rights Watch interview, Washington, D.C., November 21, 2001. Another Rier, a relief delivery location in Bul Nuer territory near Mayom, was heavily bombed by the government in May 2002. See below. Rier or ryer means “big shady tree” in Nuer.
274 Map, “Sudan: Tribal Map, Sheet 3,” Sudan Survey Department, Khartoum (1946, corrected 1969) (U.S. Library of Congress collection).
275 Guk is about two hours east of Koch on foot, about a seven hours’ walk (for the Nuer) north of Ler town. Ler chief, Human Rights Watch interview, Khartoum, July 26, 1999.
276 William Magany, interview, August 18, 1999; Ler chief, interview, July 26, 1999.
277 According to Paul Wilson, a twenty-five-year British army veteran working for Rappaport as security consultant to Lundin, the oil company did not gain access to Block 5A from the authorities until late December 1997, due to obstruction by lower level government officials. The company’s equipment arrived in January-February 1998 from Khartoum by barge. Paul Wilson, Human Rights Watch telephone interview, Nigeria, May 16, 2001.
278 Lundin Oil, “Sudan: Operation Fact Sheet—October 2000,” www.Lundinoil.com/eng/sudan.html (accessed November 28, 2000). Increasingly sophisticated seismic techniques—the reflection and refraction of sound waves propagated through the earth—reveal details of the structure and interrelationship of various layers in the subsurface that point to the probable presence of petroleum. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, “Petroleum: Exploration.” http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/refpages/RefArticle.aspx?refid=761576221&sec=5#s5 (accessed May 2, 2001).
279 Paul Wilson, interview, May 16, 2001.
280 William Magany, interview, August 18, 1999.
281 Isaac Magok Gaalwak, Ler paramount chief (Dok Nuer), Human Rights Watch interview, Paliang, Tonj County, Bahr El Ghazal, southern Sudan, August 14, 1999.
282 Michael Wal Yang, RASS coordinator Ler province, Human Rights Watch interview, Nyal, Western Upper Nile, August 18, 1999.
283 SSDF officer, interview, August 3, 1999.
284 Riek Machar, interview, August 8, 2000.
285 Taban Deng, interview, July 26, 1999. Taban Deng and others frequently referred to Lundin by its old name, IPC.
286 The Sudanese government authorities said that Lundin (IPC) needed the protection of their troops. Lundin’s security consultant Paul Wilson who was opposed to the Khartoum approach and argued against it, believed that, in retaliation, the Khartoum government started to block the Lundin (IPC) supplies coming overland through Bentiu, including food for the work crews. Lundin then successfully resorted to helicopters for supplies. Paul Wilson, interview, May 16, 2001.
287 Ler chief, interview, July 26, 1999.
288 Relief agency assessment in Nhialdiu, Leek district, Western Upper Nile, May 12-15, 1998, dated May 16, 1998 (anonymity requested).
289 Ler chief, interview, July 26, 1999.
290 William Magany, interview, August 18, 1999.
291 WFP, “Sudan Bulletin No. 83: April 18-24, 1999,” Rome, May 11, 1999.
292 This took place in the first half of 1998. Paul Wilson, interview, May 16, 2001.
293 William Magany, interview, August 18, 1999.
294 SPLA Cmdr. William Nyuon Bany, a Nuer, held Ler for twelve hours in 1992 against Riek Machar’s government-aligned forces. William Nyuon was then the highest-ranking Nuer in the SPLM/A, before he defected in August 1992 to Riek Machar’s forces. He rejoined the SPLM/A in 1995 and died in operations in early 1996, fighting against SSIM Cmdr. Elijah Hon Top. Elijah Hon Top, interview.
295 MSF, Violence, Health and Access to Aid in Unity State/Western Upper Nile, Sudan, April 2002, p. 10. MSF-Holland opened a kala azar treatment center in Ler town in 1989 when it discovered that all 800 kala azar cases it was treating in Khartoum originated in Western Upper Nile/Unity State, north of Ler. Ibid.
296 Sharon E. Hutchinson, Human Rights Watch telephone interview, Madison, Wisconsin, March 22, 2000. The officer, whose name cannot be disclosed, told Hutchinson in June 1999 about the incident.
297 Ibid.; Elijah Hon Top, interview, July 26, 1999.
298 Paul Wilson, interview, May 16, 2001.
299 S.E. Hutchinson, interview, March 22, 2000.
300 Elijah Hon Top, interview, July 26, 1999; S.E. Hutchinson, interview, March 22, 2000.
301 Elijah Hon Top, interview, July 26, 1999.
302 S. E. Hutchinson, interview, March 22, 2000.
305 Elijah Hon Top, interview, July 26, 1999.
307 “Civilians Displaced by Sudan Fights,” AP, Khartoum, July 27, 1998.
308 Michael Wal, interview, August 18, 1999.
309 William Magany, interview, August 18, 1999.
310 Isaac Magok, interview, August 14, 1999.
311 Michael Wal, interview, August 18, 1999. Others who were killed in June 1998 in Ler included local traders and one old woman who was burned inside her house. In addition, when Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep’s forces suddenly arrived, three boys were killed in cross fire. Martha N., Human Rights Watch interview, Nyal, Western Upper Nile, southern Sudan, August 18-20, 1999.
312 Michael Wal, interview, August 18, 1999.
313 S.E. Hutchinson, interview, March 22, 2000.
314 Gideon Bading, interview, August 20, 1999.
315 “Aid Agencies Pull Out of Sudanese Region,” AFP, Nairobi, July 7, 1998; MSF press release, “Insecurity Hinders Provision of Humanitarian Assistance in Southern Sudan,” Nairobi, July 7, 1998.
316 U.N. OLS (Southern Sector), “Emergency Update No. 12,” Nairobi, July 17, 1998. OLS is the U.N. umbrella agency coordinating the relief effort for Sudan.
317 Michael Wal, interview, August 18, 1999. Two rotations means two round-trip flights in one day.
318 Paul Wilson, interview, May 16, 2001.
319 Michael Wal, interview, August 18, 1999.
320 Alfred Taban, “Pro-government Factions Clash in Sudan,” Reuters, Khartoum, July 7, 1998.
321 “Inter-faction Fighting Reported in Southern Sudan,” AFP, Khartoum, July 7, 1998.
322 “Pro-government Factional Fighting Still Rages in South Sudan,” AFP, Khartoum, July 12, 1998.
323 “Nearly 50 Die in Sudan Clashes,” AFP, Khartoum, July 19, 1998.
324 “Faction Fighting in Southern Sudan Kills 49,” AFP, Khartoum, July 15, 1998.
326 Isaac Magok, interview, August 14, 1999.
327 Ler chief, interview, July 26, 1999.
328 “Aid Workers Hiding in Bush after Sending SOS,” AFP, Nairobi, July 16, 1998; WFP, “Sudan Daily Bulletin No. 10, July 18-20, 1998,” Rome, July 20, 1998.
329 “Pro-government Factions Reach Ceasefire in Southern Sudan,” AFP, Khartoum, July 21, 1998.
330 RASS official, Human Rights Watch interview, Nyal, Western Upper Nile/Unity, August 18, 1999.
331 Elizabeth N., interview, Nyal, August 18-20, 1999. In 1998, the civilians generally did not flee too far from their homes. The women and children ran four hours “very deep in the toic, where we could not be seen,” but there was not enough wild food there. They would sneak back to the village to see if it was safe to fetch clothes or food, or to gather wild food.
332 William Magany, interview, August 18, 1999.
333 WFP, “Sudan Bulletin No. 74: February 6-13, 1999,” Rome, February 25, 1999. One Nuer military man said that the Leek Nuer, who lived in the Nhialdiu area, did not want to leave their area because they were afraid their property—huts, grain, and cattle—would be looted in their absence. Often they switched sides and joined whoever was in control of the area, be it Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep or SSDF Cmdr. Tito Biel. Thomas Duoth, interview, July 22, 1999. Many Leek Nuer had already been displaced from their land north of Bentiu.
334 Oxfam, “Briefing Document on the Emergency in the South of Sudan,” May 1, 1998.
335 CARE, “CARE Responds to the Crisis in South Sudan with Emergency Aid,” Atlanta, May 5, 1998.
336 Canadian International Development Agency press release, “Canada Sends Emergency Aid to Sudan,” Ottawa, May 13, 1998.
337 U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Sudan, January-December 1999, New York, January 25, 1999.
338 MSF-Holland press release, “Insecurity Hinders Provision of Humanitarian Assistance in Southern Sudan,” Nairobi, July 7, 1998.
339 WFP, “Sudan Bulletin No. 73: February 1-6, 1999,” Rome, February 7, 1999.
340 WFP press release, “WFP Executive Director Catherine Bertini Calls on International Community to Help End Fighting in Southern Sudan,” New York, July 10, 1998. Other WFP press releases included: “WFP Staff Evacuated Safely Out of South Sudan After Out-running Militia Attack,” Nairobi, July 18, 1998; “WFP Issues Urgent Appeal for Funds to Expand Emergency Food Aid to Needy Sudanese,” Rome, July 27, 1998.
341 U.N. OLS, “An OLS Position Paper: The Humanitarian Emergency in Sudan,” Nairobi, July 31, 1998.
342 OCHA, Consolidated Appeal, 1999.
343 WFP, “WFP Delivers First Food in Months to Tens of Thousands of Sudanese Cut Off by War in Southern Sudan,” Nairobi, December 8, 1998, quoting David Fletcher, acting WFP Representative and Deputy Coordinator, OLS.
345 OCHA, Consolidated Appeal, 1998.
346 WFP, “Emergency Report No. 26 of 1998: Sudan,” Rome, June 26, 1998.
347 OCHA, Consolidated Appeal, 1999.
348 The Bahr El Ghazal famine had one natural cause – a two-year drought caused by El Niño – and several human ones. Muraheleen and government-backed militias pauperized the northern Bahr El Ghazal Dinka by raiding, burning fields and homes, and looting. The government’s years of obstruction of relief efforts along with the SPLA’s looting of the few relief goods available and “taxation” of the citizens led to a full-blown disaster. By late 1997 the U.N. projected that approximately 250,000 people in Western Upper Nile/Unity State would be at risk for starvation in 1998. Human Rights Watch, Famine in Sudan, pp. 2-3.
349 OCHA, Consolidated Appeal, 1999.