The government’s highest-ranking Nuer army officer, Brig. Gen. Gatluak Deng, united the various southern pro-government militias under one command in Juba in April 2001, while the rebel movements remained fractured. An attack on Riek Machar’s (and the U.N.’s) relief hub at Nyal, Western Upper Nile/Unity State in Block 5B by SPLA Cmdr. Peter Gatdet in February 2001 threatened the 1999 Wunlit peace agreement, but, following an emergency meeting of the peace council, no further attacks or reprisals were reported in that vicinity.
In Block 5A, the army and the SPDF local troops under Cmdr. Peter Paar guarded the road to Lundin’s new well at Ryer/Thar Jath, and Lundin made progress in oil development until Peter Paar switched allegiances in August 2001. The two Peters—Peter Paar (SPDF) and Peter Gatdet (SPLA)— reached a standstill agreement in August 2001. Riek Machar formally joined what was left of his SPDF forces with the SPLM/A a few months later, in January 2002, after nearly eleven years of strife between predominately Nuer troops and the heavily Dinka SPLA; several of Riek Machar’s officers joined the government rather than the SPLM/A.
In response to rebel military activity, the government called for further militia recruits, and also deployed the army, in particular in the GNPOC area. In Blocks 1 and 4 more oil roads were being built for new oil rigs, and at the Wangkei garrison the government hoped to build another bridge across the Bahr El Ghazal (Nam) River. In Block 4, tens of thousands of civilians were displaced in government army/helicopter attacks on the population in October 2001. When they had been cleared out, GNPOC located a drilling rig in the immediate vicinity, and the road from Heglig was extended to that rig.
In the December 2001-April 2002 dry season in Block 5A, the situation worsened for civilians after the John Garang (SPLA) and Riek Machar (SPDF) factions united and ambushed several convoys. The government launched a counter-offensive with Antonov bombers, helicopter gunships, Baggara horsebacked militia, Nuer militia, and government troops to drive civilians from the oil road and from the area of Lundin’s desired operations. Lundin was forced by these conditions of insecurity to suspend work in Block 5A on January 22, 2002.
By that time, developments elsewhere seemed to hold out the possibility of peace in Sudan. An initiative led by former U.S. Sen. John Danforth, appointed U.S. envoy for peace in Sudan by President George W. Bush in September 2001, led in January 2002 to a six-month internationally-monitored humanitarian ceasefire in the Nuba Mountains, signed by the government and the SPLM/A. In March 2002 these two parties signed an agreement advocated by Senator Danforth to refrain from targeting civilians or civilian objects in the conflict.
In the course of newly-invigorated peace talks sponsored by the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the two parties surprised all but the mediators (led by a Troika of the U.S., U.K., and Norway) by signing a protocol in Machakos, Kenya, on July 20, 2002, agreeing to a southern referendum on self-determination with independence as an option after a six-month pre-interim and a six-year interim period. They also agreed that law of southern choosing, not shari’a, would be applied in the south and shari’a would be applied in the rest of the country during that period.
In April 2001, the southerners in the Khartoum government—appointed to fill the gap created by the January 2000 defection of Riek Machar and others—brought the different pro-government armed groups of southern Sudanese into one unified force. A conference of these militia (or armed groups, as they later preferred to be called, considering the term “militia” too derogatory) was convened in Juba on April 24, 2001, by chairman of the SSCC, Staff Brig. Gen. Gatluak Deng Garang, a long-time Sudanese army officer (of Nuer mother and Dinka father), who had never been in the SPLM/A or Anyanya. More than one hundred commanders attended.765 The Juba 2001 conference concluded with the unification of the former rebel armed factions under the general command of Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep—the government’s most loyal proxy in the south. These forces continued to use the joint name of South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF), the name used by them when Riek Machar was their commander-in-chief from April 1997 until January 2000.766
The loyalty of the pro-government southern political and military forces to Khartoum was never a sure thing, and contradictions in the relationship with Khartoum abounded. SSCC Deputy Chairman Dr. Theophilous Ochiang, addressing the closing session of the unification conference, said that the objective of the conference was to unite the south for peace. He appealed to the army and security forces to cooperate with the southern state governments to this end.
The SSCC Deputy Chairman also criticized the Sudanese government army and security forces. He denounced rampant arrests by security agents of civilians in southern Sudan, and said that Juba security agents should not keep detainees in large metal shipping containers, as these were unfit for human accommodation767—an abuse long practiced in Juba and long denounced.768 Even the southerners who were government loyalists criticised the government’s treatment of their people, and the Nuer pro-government militias were often more strident about southern self-determination than was the SPLM/A.
The government of President Omar El Bashir was not enthusiastic about this new southern unity. The SSDF forces and the state governments in the south experienced prolonged periods of nonpayment of salaries and other expenses by the central government.
While southerners in government made efforts to unite their military forces, an attack on Nyal, an OLS relief center in Western Upper Nile/Unity State, in February 2001 by Nuer forces of the SPLA under the command of Peter Gatdet threatened to destroy the West Bank Nuer-Dinka peace agreement reached at Wunlit.769 It was initially feared that the Peter Gatdet forces included Dinka. Fighting between West Bank Nuer and Dinka would imperil not only the Dinka civilians who had moved back to their border villages on the West Bank, trusting in Wunlit. It would also expose the tens of thousands of internally displaced Nuer who had taken refuge in Dinka areas in Bahr El Ghazal, likewise trusting in Wunlit, to danger of retaliation. The SPLA attack on the relief hub drew wide condemnation, including by the U.S. government.770
An emergency conference called by the Wunlit West Bank Peace Council was held in the Nyuong Nuer territory of Ganyliel, Western Upper Nile/Unity State in April 2001. The meeting was under the protection of Riek Machar’s SPDF forces led by Governor Simon (Magwek Gai Majak) of Western Upper Nile/Unity State; he and his troops wore very new government-style uniforms. The conference ended with peace council support for continued peace and adherence to the Wunlit covenant. The civilian leaders present called on Cmdrs. Peter Paar and Peter Gatdet to meet with the West Bank Peace Council, speak out on and resolve their grievances against each other, and enter into a lasting ceasefire agreement.771 Neither commander heeded the call to meet with the Peace Council, but no further attacks across the West Bank Nuer-Dinka border occurred. In August 2001 the two “Peters” came to an agreement to cease hostilities, and in late January 2002 the two commanders finally entered into a peace covenant with each other and the people of Western Upper Nile/Unity State.
SPDF Cmdrs. Riek Machar and Tito Biel left Nairobi in early 2001 and went to Eastern Upper Nile to rally support for their SPDF forces.772 Riek Machar traveled to many areas of Eastern Upper Nile. He spoke to gatherings of his followers and urged them to join the SPLA, although his negotiations with the SPLA were far from concluded. One local leader who attended a meeting held by Riek Machar in his village in March 2001 said that Riek Machar urged that when they “had two factions they could not reach their goal of defeating the jellaba,” so they should join the SPLA. When the people objected and said that they did not like the SPLA, Riek Machar insisted that they had to, they had “to have one government.”773
Therefore many local SPDF forces and communities switched their loyalty to the SPLA. Some waited until the SPLA forces were close enough to make a switch without subjecting them to retaliation by the progovernment forces. Others participated in staged “attacks” on villages which resulted in SPLA “captures” of former SPDF locations—“attacks” in which there were no casualties.774
The reasons that local SPDF forces gave for switching loyalties were that the SPLA was “the first government of the South, the SPDF is doing nothing for our liberation;”775 “I had decided that when the SPLA was near, I would go to it, it was in my heart. . . . there were many deaths between southerners and the one who really fights the ‘jellaba’ is the SPLA.”776
When Riek Machar left Nairobi in early 2001 for Eastern Upper Nile, Taban Deng Gai, former Unity State governor and spokesman for Riek Machar’s faction throughout its many incarnations, stayed in Nairobi and entered into negotiations with SPLM/A officials in order to settle the differences between the SPLM/A and the SPDF. A statement issued by both the SPLM/A and SPDF dated May 28, 2001 announced that they had agreed on the “organic unity of the two Movements under the SPLM/SPLA,” an immediate ceasefire between their two forces, and a referendum for self-determination, among other things.777 This was later challenged by anti-SPLA members of the SPDF, who claimed that those involved in the negotiations, Taban Deng Gai, Thomas Duoth Giet, and James Kok Ruea, had merely defected to the SPLA.778 Immediately, a group called the “SPDF Peace Committee” issued a press release “clarifying” the declaration, characterizing it as “premature” and asserting that the two SPDF signatories were “not authorized by the leadership” to speak because consultations within the SPDF were not complete. Some of the leadership called an emergency SPDF convention to discuss the matter, scheduled for June 28, 2001, in southern Sudan.779 Meanwhile, the SPLM/A spokesman Yasir Arman said that the merger had been achieved two weeks prior to the signing via a reconciliation meeting between Cmdr. Peter Gatdet (SPLA) and Taban Deng (SPDF) in the presence of Dr. Justin Yaac (long a close advisor to SPLM/A leader Dr. Garang). Then both Peter Gatdet and Taban Deng met with Dr. Garang.780
In the August-September 2001 period, Cmdrs. Peter Gatdet (SPLA) and Peter Paar (SPDF) ceased their fourteen-month hostilities by oral agreement. The agreement was finalized in writing during January 26-February 1, 2002 in Koch, Western Upper Nile/Unity State. This covenant, the product of the “people of Liech,” although it was not clear that any communities were represented there, declared amnesty for all offenses against people and property committeed during the intense conflict between the two commanders, including the agreement that property looted and cattle raided were not to be claimed back. This covenant, reached under the auspices of the New Sudan Council of Churches, did not mention abducted women and children.781
On January 6, 2002, the talks between the SPLM/A and SPDF at the top level were consummated and John Garang of the SPLM/A and Riek Machar of the SPDF publicly signed the Nairobi Declaration of Unity, thereby merging the two forces. This new formation retained the name of SPLM/A. It retained the key goal of self-determination for the people of southern Sudan and, toward this objective, intended to “conduct immediate military operations against forces of the NIF regime, as well as to intensify all other forms of struggle.”782
In contrast to the attempt at unity of May 2001, this merger appeared genuine. Garang and Riek met again on February 5 and 7, 2002, and signed another document with multiple provisions,783 including creation of a Special Joint Committee to integrate the forces in command, rank, and organization. It also provided for the cooperation of civilian and relief agencies associated with the two movements. On February 8, the two commanders instructed their respective units to begin integrating on the ground. Garang declared that “[t]he way forward is . . . to defeat the NIF and achieve final victory.”784 These developments represented a clear threat to Khartoum.785
The SPLM/A had already concluded agreements with other opposition groups. On February 16, 2001, the Popular National Congress (PNC), a breakaway faction from the governing National Congress Party led by Islamist ideologue and NIF founder Hassan al Turabi, reached an agreement with the SPLM/A, to the surprise of most observers: the two had long been enemies. Garang, receiving criticism from his own supporters, downplayed the announcement, stating that it was “not an alliance, it’s a dialogue.”786 The agreement resulted in the Khartoum government immediately jailing Dr. Turabi and many of his PNC officials. He remains in prolonged arbitrary detention with no charges against him as of the writing of this report.
On March 1, 2002 the predominantly northern Sudan Alliance Forces (SAF), an NDA member, announced its merger with the SPLM/A.787 This brought to the SPLM/A the infusion of a small but experienced number of northern politicians and army officers whose platform supported a referendum for southern independence.
In early February 2002, however, Cmdr. Tito Biel, rejecting the Garang-Machar unity agreement of January 6 and Riek Machar’s alleged failure to consult with the SPDF on it, defected from Riek Machar’s forces and rejoined the Sudanese government.788 His former oppponent Peter Gatdet joined him in late 2002.
On September 6, 2001, U.S. President George W. Bush appointed John Danforth, a former senator, as his special envoy for peace in Sudan. Danforth was to report to the president as to whether the two main parties to Sudan's lengthy civil war—the Sudanese government and the SPLM/A—were ready for peace negotiations. Senator Danforth and his team of U.S. State Department and U.S. AID officials visited Sudan and the region in November 2001 and again in January 2002; team members made additional visits during this period.
Senator Danforth proposed four tests for the two main parties to the conflict to prove their commitment to a peace process: (1) a humanitarian ceasefire agreement in the Nuba Mountains, with international monitors; (2) an agreement by both sides not to target civilians or civilian objects in the war in the south; (3) the appointment of an international “eminent persons” commission to investigate and make recommendations for practical solutions to the problem of slavery/abductions in Sudan; and (4) respect for “zones of tranquility” in the conflict areas, enabling humanitarian agencies to carry out polio immunizations and campaigns against other diseases.789
Although fighting in Block 5A and continued government aerial bombardment of civilians throughout the south threatened to derail the talks, by late March 2002 both the government of Sudan and the SPLM/A had agreed to the four points. In particular, the Nuba Mountains ceasefire agreement was signed by both parties January 19, 2002, in Switzerland, and the agreement not to attack or target civilians or civilian objects was signed March 10 by the government and March 25 by the SPLM/A.
Senator Danforth’s report to President Bush was made public on May 10, 2002. It summarized the state of compliance by the parties with the four agreements and concluded that the parties had shown sufficient commitment to finding a negotiated end to the war that the U.S. should continue its engagement.
This led directly to increased U.S. engagement as mediator, forming a “troika” with its allies the United Kingdom and Norway, in the peace negotiations starting in June 2002 in Machakos, Kenya. Those talks produced a protocol on July 20, 2002, that sought to dispose of the troublesome issues of self-determination for the south and the relationship between religion and the state. The second round of Machakos negotiations, stalled for weeks by what appeared to be power struggles within the ruling party in Khartoum and the SPLA capture of Torit, started in October 2002. As of the date of finalizing this report, the negotiations are on-going.
The SPLM/A continued to announce military successes within the GNPOC consortium’s territory, in 2001 scoring more attacks than in previous years. The first attack, according to Cmdr. Peter Gatdet, was on an exploratory drilling rig, the Tamur rig, in Block 4 on January 5, 2001, operated by CNPC. He claimed that the rig was located near Rumrum, and was abandoned after the attack because the rebels destroyed the containers that were used to house company employees.790
The Tamur rig was described as thirty kilometers north of the Bahr el Arab River (south of the river being the “fief” of Peter Gatdet), and in the highest risk location operated by GNPOC. It was assigned 400 Sudanese army troops with “technicals” to guard it. After the attack, more drilling was done, but the well was dry.791
Panaru, an area of Ruweng County in the Dinka enclave in Block 1, continued to be a target for the Sudanese army in 2001. Dinka chief Simon Thor from Panaru told a U.N. investigator that Panaru had been attacked by the Sudanese army and bombed at the end of January 2001, and again in the next few days.792 This was not the first attack on Panaru; an earlier attack drove these Dinka to Nimne (Block 5A). Most moved back to Panaru in July 2000 because of the fighting that broke out then in Nimne between Gatdet/SPLA and Paar/SPDF/government forces.
The situation in Panaru then became insecure again. The chief said that the Chinese were building a road near Panaru and the army had installed a generator in the location. He reported that nearby was an oil installation and drilling was proceeding, with six wells.793 The erosion of the population of Ruweng County by military means continued.
The SPLM/A claimed that it captured three wells near Bentiu on January 26, 2001. 794 Observers noted that SPLM/A claims did not always reflect reality on the ground: for no apparent reason the SPLM/A did not claim credit for each one of its attacks on oil infrastructure, while at times exaggerating the achievements of failed forrays.
SPLA Cmdr. Peter Gatdet said that his forces succeeded in closing down the Kaikang oilfield (which spans Alor Dinka and Leek and Bul Nuer territory north of Mayom, in Block 4) on February 25, 2001, where he claimed a Norwegian company was operating. Cmdr. Peter Gatdet’s forces also reportedly seized the oilfield in Boaw (Block 5A), thirty kilometers from Buoth (then Peter Gatdet’s headquarters, in Jagei territory) in March 2001. These were operations where the rebels attacked and withdrew, not trying to hold territory.795
Then, during the rainy season (May-November), SPLA attacks on oil-related targets in the GNPOC concession seemed to pick up. The SPLA claimed to have “annihilated” a military convoy in June 2001 escorting oil industry equipment, at a location between Wangkei and Mayom in Block 4. The SPLA claimed it fought for five hours and inflicted 244 casualties on government forces, and destroyed significant military and construction equipment, including four bulldozers, five motor graders, forty-six trucks, two water tankers mounted on trucks, twenty-one Land Cruiser and Nissan pickups belonging to the oil company, and other equipment.796 The government denied the attack.
This attack was largely confirmed by a foreign journalist. On June 8, 2001, Swedish journalist Peter Strandberg watched from the sidelines as Cmdr. Peter Gatdet, whom the SPLM/A press release said had directed the attack, and his 800-man force ambushed a government convoy at night on the road between Wangkei and Mayom in Block 4. The journalist reported that Peter Gatdet’s forces killed 360 government soldiers and ten oil workers while sustaining the loss of only ten SPLA soldiers. The rebels also destroyed thirty vehicles and looted the dead of all their possessions, returning to Buoth to celebrate their victory. Buoth was at the time a town overpopulated by thousands of civilians displaced from their home villages in the region by government soldiers.797
An SPLM/A press release said that on July 1, 2001, SPLA forces ambushed and destroyed an oil convoy only thirty kilometers out of Bentiu town. The SPLM/A said that three days later, on July 4, it attacked another government convoy en route to Wangkei garrison from Bentiu. After three days of fighting, this convoy, consisting of an infantry brigade and local militia groups, was reportedly “completely routed” and forty-eight soldiers were killed, thirty-five wounded, and many more taken prisoner. The convoy was said to have been going to Wangkei with a military engineering company to build a railway line to northern Sudan. Various military materiel was captured. The government denied that any such attack took place. 798 There was no independent confirmation available of these attacks.
When the SPLA attacks stepped up in mid-2001, President Bashir rallied workers to send their militias to the oil front, vowing “never to relinquish the oilfields,” and that the government would “continue going along the path of jihad and martyrdom.”799
The most significant attacks, in publicity terms, occurred on August 4-5, 2001. An SPLA unit attacked the GNPOC consortium field headquarters at Heglig, damaging an oil storage tank and a helicopter on the ground800 that probably belonged to an oil company.801 At the same time, the Gatdet/SPLA forces attacked the government garrison at Wangkei. Both attacks were initially denied by the government, but Talisman admitted that Heglig had been targeted, with minimal damage. It said it halted pumping of oil for a few hours as a routine security precaution.802 Heglig, however, is far north of Peter Gatdet’s usual territory.
Following the oral standstill agreement between the the two “Peters,” SPLA Cmdr. Gatdet and SPDF Cmdr. Paar in August 2001, the SPLA stepped up its attacks on the oilfields. It claimed to have killed 429 Sudanese soldiers during October 12-19, 2001 attacks on Pariang and Bentiu towns in Upper Nile (Block 1) and Fom al-Zaraf in Bahr El Ghazal (Block 5A). The SPLM/A said it temporarily occupied the armed forces’ headquarters in Bentiu before withdrawing. Apparently the SPLA did make an incursion into Bentiu, because the governor claimed that the SPLA had killed seven people in this attack on the capital. The SPLM/A also stated that a 105-soldier pro-government militia switched sides during the fighting in Fom al-Zaraf, Bahr El Ghazal, providing the SPLA with 191 Kalashnikovs and ammunition.803
Meanwhile, also in October 2001, the Sudanese government launched another offensive in the GNPOC oil concession, in the southeast part of Ruweng (Panaru/Pariang) County (Blocks 1 and 5A). It attacked the villages between Jukabar and Bal from the air and followed up with ground troops. Helicopters flew low enough that the wind from their blades parted the bush and enabled their gunners to see and fire at civilians hiding there, according to witnesses. Children as well as adults were killed in these attacks. Others were killed by “technicals” riding into their villages. The government attackers encountered no armed resistance but caused the population to flee to two areas of swampland in northeast and southeast Ruweng County, according to investigators for the advocacy NGO European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS). An estimated 80,000 persons were so displaced.804
One month later, in November 2001, GNPOC moved a drilling rig into Pakier, just to the west of the depopulated area, suggesting that the military attacks were intended to clear the way for the expansion of oil production in that sector. Witnesses still in the area saw the light on the top of the GNPOC rig at night. In March 2002, Chinese workers started building an extension of the Heglig road to Manawal in the direction of Bal and Jukabar, the new government garrison. Civilians who attempted to return to the Pakier area found anti-personnel landmines around the watering points and pathways to areas where women collected wild food, leading to reports of deaths of animals and some people, and deterring the residents from returning.805
In April 2001, a Canadian and British nongovernmental investigation team visited the rebel-held areas of the GNPOC concession, having failed to secure a visa to visit the government side. The team found:
Many civilians in the oil areas interviewed by press and human rights investigators have reported that they were driven from their homes by helicopter gunships.807 Many such helicopters were based at oil company airstrips. After visiting the Talisman project in early 2001, the Canadian consular official based in Khartoum reported that two Hind helicopter gunships had been stationed at Unity Field (GNPOC) for about a month, flying sorties almost every day, taking on large amounts of ammunition and unloading none. A third Hind had been put out of action by excessive dust in its air intake. (These three helicopters constituted perhaps one-half of the government’s fleet of combat helicopters.)808 This was corroborated by two young southern men who defected from the government army base at Heglig in April 2001. They reported that two helicopter gunships were based at Heglig, the location of the GNPOC long air strip and field headquarters as well as the site of the large Heglig army base.809
The combat range of a Hind helicopter gunship, when fully loaded with weapons, is about 160 kilometers, according to Jane’s.810 This range is ideal for helicopters based in Heglig or Unity projects in the GNPOC concession. Heglig to Mayom or Unity airstrip is roughly one hundred kilometers. On the Block 5A Lundin side, Unity to Wicok is seventy kilometers, Unity to Ryer/Thar Jath is sixty kilometers, and Unity to Ler is 110 kilometers, as the crow flies. As Talisman admitted, each oil facility is guarded by the military.811
Block 5A, Early 2001
In early 2001, the forces of SPDF Cmdr. Peter Paar were guarding the oil road in Block 5A. The Sudanese government-appointed governor of Upper Nile, John Dor, confirmed this in a statement to the Lundin board of directors in Stockholm in May 2001. 812 Peter Paar’s SPDF forces received arms and ammunition from the government of Sudan via the Paulino Matiep forces.
The Sudanese government, however, still preferred to protect the oil development projects with non-southern troops, that is, government troops commanded predominantly by northern officers.813 The government nevertheless continued to rely on the protecion of the outer ring of oil development by government-friendly southern militia. One Nuer chief sent his people to investigate the Ryer area and they reported back to him that there were Chinese workers, who used vehicles that operated in the water and on dry ground. The Chinese workers were guarded by northern army soldiers.814 This army presence, reinforcement, and provisioning were greatly facilitated by the oil road, on which the government army could use military trucks year-round at a faction of the cost of helicopter or other air resupply.
Gov. John Dor also told the Lundin board of directors that there was no civilian population displacement from Lundin’s area of operations815—although the latter allegation was blatantly wrong.
This was borne out by continuing human rights and other research done by nongovernmental human rights investigators in the area and OLS personnel. For example, the oil consortium and government built the Block 5A oil road through the middle of a village known as Kuac. Chief Peter Ring Pathai, the head chief of Kuac, reported to an OLS interviewer that the village of Thar near Kuac had been bombed ten times as of February 2001 in a government effort to displace the population.816
Many activists in sympathy with the SPLM/A made spot visits to Western Upper Nile/Unity State, but without finding many civilians. Rev. Gary Kusunoki, a Californian missionary, visited Nhialdiu in Block 5A in March 2001, in the company of a Newsweek journalist.817 Both the reverend and the journalist reported that villagers told them that Nhialdiu was burned out in fighting on March 5, 2001. In a statement to the U.S. Congress, Rev. Kusunoki said that the attack was conducted by the SPDF, “a government backed militia.”818 The reporter observed that “Nothing was left of the town of Nhialdiu,”819 and observed from the low-flying plane that dozens of other villages also lay in ashes, deserted.820 The missionary estimated that more than 25,000 people had been displaced as a result of the attack, and had moved further south.821 The basis for that estimate, however, was not provided.
Newsweek reported that hardly any people gathered for the food distribution and preaching offered where their plane had been directed to land; Nhialdiu was on the front line, the journalist discovered when the artillery barrage started. The missionary had to leave the supplies with the rebels; Cmdr. Peter Gatdet said that he would keep only 25 percent of the food and distribute the rest to the needy. A senior UNICEF official in Nairobi suggested to Newsweek that such freelancers (as Rev. Kusunoki) simply became the tools of the SPLM/A.822
The Military Tide Turns Toward the Rebels in Block 5A, Late 2001-2002; Lundin Suspends Operations Again
With the onset of the dry season in late November 2001 and the Gatdet/Paar and SPLM/A/SPDF standstill agreements, the rebel forces began to attack more government military targets in Block 5A. SPDF Cmdr. Peter Paar Jiek had been guarding the Lundin installations in Block 5A since 2000. He switched sides in August 2001, and ceased to guard the Lundin project against SPLA attacks after that.
On December 9, 2001, near Old Fangak on the border of Block 5A, the SPLA attacked the pro-government Nuer commander Gabriel Tanginya.823 The U.N. received a report that the attack was actually on Tanginya’s forces at the government garrison in New Fangak.824 Paulino Matiep arrived three weeks later, however, with a 1,000-man militia, and managed to recapture Old Fangak briefly, but lost it to the SPLA again on January 7, 2002.825
In December 2001, a Lundin helicopter was shot and its pilot gravely wounded about one hundred kilometers south of Rubkona.826 According to confidential sources, the helicopter was shot at by members of the Paulino Matiep militia after the Lundin pilot refused to give them a ride.827
Of greater significance was the rebel push on the Bentiu to Ryer/Thar Jath oil road to try to close it down. The rebels conducted a series of ambushes on reinforcement convoys traveling on that road. The SPDF issued press releases (in the name of the reunited SPLM/A) stating that it had repeatedly attacked enemy garrisons of Pultutni (for Ryer/Thar Jath), Kuok, and kilometer 40, killing enemy soldiers on December 26, 2001, and January 13, 2002. During the December 26 attack, the SPDF claimed, it captured eleven pieces of seismic and road equipment worth millions of dollars.828
The SPLM/A also announced that it had repulsed a large convoy of about 7,000 men, comprising regular army soldiers and several “tribal militias” supported by two helicopter gunships and an Antonov bomber. It ambushed that convoy on the road between Nhialdiu and Bentiu on January 14, 2002.829
On January 22, 2002, Lundin announced that its operations in Block 5A would be suspended “as a precautionary measure to ensure maximum security for its personnel and operation.”830 The helicopter shoot-down, the defection of the pro-government militia guarding its installations, and increased ambushes combined to cause Lundin to suspend activities.
Although Lundin had announced this suspension, the Sudanese army continued to use the oil road and to reinforce and guard the oil locations. The SPDF reported that its forces, led by Alternate Cmdr. Daniel Ruai Makuei, ambushed a government convoy between the Ryer/Thar Jath garrison at Pultutni and Mirmir on January 23, 2002, killing sixty-three soldiers, capturing two soldiers alive, and capturing various amounts of weapons.831
According to the same rebel press release, two days later, on January 25, 2002, SPDF Cmdr. David Gatluak Damai engaged a government convoy at Kuac, forty kilometers south of Bentiu, killing 102 enemy soldiers and capturing four alive on the oil road. 832 Other sources reported that on the same day SPLA Cmdr. Peter Gatdet ambushed a convoy of two hundred conscripts the Sudanese government sent to reinforce its Pultutni garrison and protect Lundin’s rig at Ryer/Thar Jath.833 The SPLM/A claimed the deaths of 198 government soldiers in that ambush. Cmdr. Peter Gatdet reported after this engagement that he controlled the old road leading to Ryer/Thar Jath. 834
A team of human rights investigators separately reported that the government used Antonovs to bomb Koch on January 24, 2002, and helicopter gunships to attack Koch, Ler, and Mayandit on January 25, 2002.835 The rebels confirmed that they were engaged in the Ler vicinity: an SPDF press release said that on January 26 the government soldiers tried to return to their Ler barracks from Payak airstrip, a distance of five kilometers, but the SPDF beat them back to the garrison at Payak airstrip, killing fifteen enemy soldiers with losses of two SPDF soldiers.836
The government dry season offensive (or counteroffensive) in early 2002 caused the flight of civilians living on the Block 5A/Block 4 border, in Rupnyagai and Buoth near the Barh El Ghazal (Nam) River. “A long range artillery gun placed in the government garrison town of Wangkai was able to reach Buoth and surrounding villages. This coupled with the ground troops forced people to flee south across the streams to Wicok and then further south again to Chotchar,” investigators reported. 837
The government resorted to targeting Nuer civilians who lived along the road, according to investigators.
The Nuer civilians that lived along the oil road said they were free to do so in 2001 due to the ‘period of cooperation’ between GoS and the SPDF [Cmdr. Peter Paar], a major southern opposition movement. This cooperation came to an abrupt end when the SPLM/A and SPDF agreed to unify and fight a ‘common enemy,’ the [government of Sudan]. The civilians then became targets again. Now, these Nuer have joined the ranks of the displaced and are living in Touc, Chotchar and Wumlit, south of Pam [the marshy areas in the southern Block 4].838
As part of the clearance campaign, the Sudanese government launched what investigators called “a vicious air attack” on the civilian populations around Pultutni (the garrison for Ryer/Thar Jath) in late January 2002 and Ryer/Thar Jath in February 2002. “Everyone interviewed stated that the gunships came in pairs three times a day when the villages were under attack, as high altitude Antonov bombers flew overhead.”839 The ground forces came from the garrisons at Ryer/Thar Jath and Bentiu, burning and looting villages. Some of the displaced walked west to Wicok, a distance of eighty kilometers (thirty-six miles), across numerous swamps and rivers under cover of darkness.
This was part of a larger campaign of civilian destruction and displacement through aerial bombardment.840 The ground forces included the horsebacked Baggara, used for the first time south of the Bahr El Ghazal (Nam) River, who crossed the river using the oil company-built bridge.
Other targets for displacement were villagers who lived near Nhialdiu. An investigative team from Christian Aid and DanChurchAid visited several locations in Rubkona County south of Bentiu in late March 2002, following the trail of displaced persons fleeing south from the fighting launched by the government in the Nimne-Nhialdiu corridor in Block 5A.841 The team visited the villages of Wicok, Mayaluok, Chotchar, Tuoc, and Pam and interviewed local leaders and displaced civilians. An eight-year-old boy who had lived in a small village near Nhialdiu said that after the Antonovs and helicopter gunships, the horsemen and ground troops advanced on his village. “They ride two to a horse . . . . One is riding the horse while the other is behind shooting at us with his gun.” The boy and his cousin ran toward the grassy swamps at the edge of their village to evade the horses, but gunships flew low overhead, and the boy’s cousin was shot in the back of the head and killed.842
A displaced woman who fled a village near Nhialdiu said, “The horsemen [Baggara] chased the people to the river and shot at them as they struggled across burdened with young children and the elderly. Even pregnant women were not spared,” she said, referring by name to two young women near term who were shot by the horsemen in this exodus.843
The team concluded that the “Government of Sudan is deliberately targeting civilian populations, resulting in the displacement of the majority of Rubkona County.”844 This military activity also resulted in many civilian deaths from “being bombarded by Antonov planes, strafed by helicopter gunships and rockets as well as being chased into rivers and streams by armed horsemen [Baggara] and foot soldiers.”845 According to the team’s report, “All this is done because of the oil. Rubkona County sits on large reserves of oil that Lundin Oil Company of Sweden has the concession to exploit.”846
A researcher from KAIROS, a Canada-based ecumenical initiative, extensively documented a separate government attack on January 27, 2002, which caused the immediate displacement of hundreds of people from the town of Mankien, Western Upper Nile/Unity State, in Block 4, west of the oil road.847 The displaced gave terrifying testimonies of the Sudanese government’s attack on Mankien, a town teeming with displaced people where the SPLA also had a presence. Days before the ground offensive, the government began high-altitude bombing with Antonov planes, indiscriminately striking the civilian population.848 Then, before dawn on January 27, government soldiers and allied militia attacked, with the sleeping villagers as victims.
Those who survived the attack all told a similar tale. The government forces killed those who could not run away from the onslaught. One survivor said that the government forces “came in the early morning when people were sleeping. . . . . They raped girls and killed many people. Our village was destroyed. . . . I don’t know why we were attacked, they just came and killed people.”849 Helicopter gunships provided support for the forces on the ground.
Those who survived walked for two to three days without food or possessions to Maper in Twic County, Bahr El Ghazal. Based on the testimony of aid organizations, churches, foreign aid agencies, the SPLM, and the displaced Nuer, the KAIROS investigator estimated that 500 civilians were displaced from their homes as a result of the one attack,850 signaling a heightened campaign of intentional forced displacement around the oilfields.
Government troops spread out also on the other side of Bentiu, in the displaced haven of Nimne twenty kilometers northeast of Bentiu in Western Upper Nile/Unity State. MSF-Holland evacuated its basic health care unit and kala azar treatment center there on February 1, 2002, after rebel warnings that government soldiers were approaching. After a week, MSF-Holland returned and found that all its medical supplies and equipment had been looted, as had the property of the civilians living there. The civilians said that Cmdr. James Lial (Diu) was responsible; he was formerly with the SPDF Riek Machar forces, and at the time with the Sudanese government/Paulino Matiep militia.
In this Sudanese government dry season offensive on the Nhialdiu-Nimne corridor in Block 5A, both sides took heavy casualties, as described in detail by an American NGO employee of military background who was present on the Nhialdiu end of the corridor:
The SPLA, however, failed to capitalize on its separation of the tanks from the infantry, for lack of “sufficient anti-armor weapons.” The government forces began a fighting withdrawal to Bentiu, during which the AN-32 bombers and MI-24 gun-ships attacked the village areas in the vicinity of the battle, which resulted in the killing of a large number of civilians. Combatant casualties on both sides were high.852
The aid worker’s description of the next attack by the government forces on Nhialdiu on February 20, 2002, was equally precise:
This report is consistent with the reports of human rights investigators in Western Upper Nile/Unity State during February and March 2002.854
On February 22, 2002, Khartoum reported it had secured a major “airport” in Nhialdiu, which it claimed the SPLA had been using to attack oilfields in Western Upper Nile/Unity State. This is not consistent with the observations of countless investigators and relief personnel who have been in and out of Nhialdiu throughout the years.855 The SPLA retook Nhialdiu on February 29 but held it only for one day before losing it to the government.856 The SPLA lost Mankien to Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep’s militia in May 2002.
In early January 2001 UNICEF expressed its “extreme concern” that large numbers of displaced people in Upper Nile were putting pressure on local populations whose food needs were not secure, and this could lead to a humanitarian crisis. The WFP calculated that food needs for the vulnerable population would increase about 20 percent in 2001, compared to 2000.857 The following month, the WFP made an urgent plea for U.S. $ 135 million to feed 2.9 million people in Sudan. It said that “Hunger is expected to be worst in the 1998 famine zones of Bahr el Ghazal and in Upper Nile where the conflict continues.”858
The WFP said in the same month:
The Norwegian Refugee Council concluded in May 2001 that since the late 1990s displacement in Sudan had been closely linked to the expanding activities of the oil industry in Western Upper Nile/Unity State.860
A new wave of internally displaced civilians arrived in Bentiu in February-April 2001; they reported to the WFP that their homes had been attacked, burned, and looted by “militia,” although it did not specify which militia. The civilians suffered from a 24 percent global malnutrition rate. This was among the highest malnutrition rates reported in southern Sudan.861
By mid-2001, there was nothing left of Padit in Ruweng County (Block 5A), which was visited by the Harker mission in December 1999, and later by the Canadian/British mission of April 2001862 and by a journalist in July 2001. The journalist “found that in the town of Padit, there was nothing more than the foundations and remains of dozens of houses and farms.”863 Padit had been a town in Block 5A to which many displaced from Pariang (Block 1) had fled.
As if the condition of these civilians were not bad enough, the presence of a wild polio virus was confirmed in Ruweng County. A campaign to wipe polio out of Sudan had been in progress for a few years, but due to the fighting and insecurity, Ruweng County was not effectively reached. It had only two of three required rounds of National Immunization Days in 2000, only one in 1999, and none in 2001. The treatment is ineffective unless all three rounds are administered within a limited time of several months. WHO, knowing the fighting and forced displacement which the Ruweng County area suffered and continued to suffer, stated that there was a real need for urgent rounds of polio immunization to halt the spread of polio.864 The United Nations urged warring parties to permit safe passage to teams staffed by WHO, UNICEF, and Operation Lifeline Sudan, who were due to arrive in the area at the end of July 2001 to combat the spread of the polio virus.865 The parties finally agreed, at Danforth’s urging, to make this area a “zone of tranquility” and to facilitate access for the purpose of wiping out the polio virus, but in typical fashion logistics, misunderstandings, and deception seriously delayed health access even then.
One human rights investigating team estimated that in October 2001 there were an additional 80,000 displaced persons from Ruweng County escaping government military operations there. It noted that an estimated three-quarters of the population of Ruweng County had been displaced over time.866 Another investigating team concluded that the “Government of Sudan is deliberately targeting civilian populations, resulting in the displacement of the majority of Rubkona County.”867
From January to March 2002 an additional 50,000 persons from Block 5A were displaced, on the move from fighting between the government and rebels.868
As of March 2002, the number of internally displaced individuals from the oil areas found in Lakes (a section of Bahr El Ghazal) and Upper Nile region stood at 174,200.869 This did not include the numbers who were in Twic County of Bahr El Ghazal and in Khartoum.
The government tried to restrict relief access to these specific persons displaced from Western Upper Nile/Unity State in mid-2002, in a series of ploys that brought about a strong reaction from the operational NGOs, which was not as strongly followed up by donor governments. The Sudanese government succeeded in getting a U.N. official to sign an agreement, presented to him one-half hour before he left the country with the threat of “sign this or the displaced will get nothing,” that this region would be served from a government base in El Obeid, northern Kordofan, by road and barge. The Sudanese government continued to ban all air access to Western Upper Nile/Unity State; air access, because of the commencement of the rainy season, was the only way to reach most of the persons recently displaced from the oilfields. The U.N. quickly voided the agreement, but the world was again on notice of the Sudanese government’s willingness to impede aid to the oil displaced even in the midst of peace talks in Kenya.
Even as independent human rights and humanitarian agencies were documenting the proliferating serious abuses in the oil fields, the U.N. special rapporteurs for human rights in Sudan were also taking official and urgent note.
The report of U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Sudan Dr. Leonardo Franco to the General Assembly on October 14, 1999, sounded the alarm about displacement in the oilfields: he noted that the May 1999 government assault on Ruweng County had caused many persons to become internally displaced.870
The new special rapporteur on human rights in Sudan, appointed in late 2000, Gerhard Baum, declared to the April 2001 session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights that the situation of human rights in Sudan in 2000, specifically with regard to the oilfields, was serious;871 in June 2001, he warned that the situation of human rights in 2001 was worse than the year before, and that oil was fueling the conflict.872
U.N. special rapporteur Baum stated, among other concerns about the oil-displaced persons, that none of those displaced who fled to Khartoum seemed to have benefited from any kind of compensation for being relocated “in spite of information to the contrary, as provided by the Government in March .”873 These comments were made to the General Assembly in November 2001.
The special rapporteur stated in his January 2002 report to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights that “the overall human rights situation has not improved since the presentation of his interim report” to the U.N. General Assembly in November 2001.874 He specifically linked oil exploitation to human rights abuses. He interviewed internally displaced persons from Upper Nile in Khartoum and in southern Sudan, and noted “that oil exploitation continued to cause widespread displacement and access to the area remains extremely difficult . . . .”875 He also reiterated his
He reported that “oil has seriously exacerbated the conflict while deteriorating the overall situation of human rights,” and said that he had received information that “oil exploitation is continuing to cause widespread displacement . . . .”877 His interviews with displaced persons from the oil areas pointed to “bombings by Antonov planes, often followed by attacks by helicopter gunships aimed at clearing the land around the oilfields . . . . some fled naked, and were forced to run for up to a month before reaching a safe haven.”878
He specifically refuted the government’s argument that people move to the north rather than to the south to look for peace, because “people fled wherever they could.”879The Special Rapporteur’s reports in 2002 and 2003 were similarly urgent.880
The relief situation belatedly turned around when in October 2002 the government and the SPLM/A agreed on unimpeded humanitarian access to all areas for people in need, as part of their standsill agreement during the second round of peace talks under IGAD auspices in Kenya.881 Even as access dramatically improved in other areas in and outside the south, however, Western Upper Nile/Unity State continued to be an area where the government intermittantly blocked humanitarian access to the needy persons it had displaced from the oilfield areas—and violated the ceasefire also agreed to in October 2002.
After years of trying, the Sudanese government finally succeeded in defeating the mandate of the UNCHR’s special rapporteur on human rights in Sudan in April 2003 and silencing that official critic of forced displacement and misery in the oil areas.882
Talisman’s general manager in Sudan, Ralph Capeling, announced in early January 2001 that the GNPOC consortium planned to drill seventeen exploration wells and twenty-five development wells in its Sudan blocks. 883 The GNPOC production target for 2001, an average 200,000 barrels per day, would be exceeded, Capeling predicted.884
In May 2001, Capeling announced that GNPOC was producing oil in six fields and would increase to about ten fields within twelve months. “It is better than Talisman expected. When we came in October 1998, we thought we were buying 600 million barrels, but what we got was 917 million,” Capeling told the press.885 He predicted that GNPOC production would rise to 250,000 barrels per day by 2003, and that level of production could be maintained for some time.886
In July 2001, the Sudanese government energy and mining minister Awad Ahmed al Jaz officially opened the new GNPOC field called “Bamboo,” said to be thirty-five kilometers north of Heglig (on the northern side of the north-south border).887 He announced it was producing 15,000 barrels of oil per day from eleven wells.888
Talisman announced in January 2002 that it spent U.S. $ 125 million in exploration and development in Sudan in 2001, a jump from its 2000 spending (U.S. $ 70 million). It projected spending slightly less in 2002, U.S. $ 115 million. Almost three-quarters of this budget would be allocated to projects at Bamboo and Munga in Block 4, where seven wells would be drilled (thirty-eight wells in all would be drilled in the GNPOC concession in 2002).889
Talisman’s projections indicate production from the GNPOC concession would peak in 2005 at 250,000 b/d and then would drop off yearly and rather sharply, reaching 40,000 b/d in 2020, and continuing to decrease after that.890 Thus, the government would have to open other oil fields if it were to maintain its revenue flow.891
The government looked to Block 5A for the next source of oil revenue. Shortly after the January 2001 inauguration of the road leading to Lundin’s drilling site in Block 5A, testing commenced on the Thar Jath-1 well (Ryer).892 In early March 2001, Lundin was “pleased to announce” it had “made a significant oil discovery on Block 5A, onshore Sudan.”893 CEO Ian H. Lundin commented, “This is a significant and exciting event for Lundin Oil. We have confirmed that the trend of prolific oilfields as seen in Blocks 1, 2 and 4 operated by the GNPOC consortium, extends into our Block.”894
Lundin then moved its exploratory drill to a second exploration site, called Jarayan-1, approximately twelve kilometers southeast of Thar Jath-1/Ryer.895 The well was not successful, however, and Lundin encountered only “sub-commercial quantities of oil” there, and moved the drilling rig back to the first location. Lundin noted that it, its partners, and the government of Sudan were “committed to the fast track development of the Thar Jath field through the installation of a pipeline connecting Thar Jath to the main trunk line that goes to Port Sudan,” i.e., the GNPOC pipeline.896
Cmdr. Peter Paar had been guarding Lundin’s operations since mid-2000, supplied by the Sudanese government. When his differences with SPLA Cmdr. Peter Gatdet were settled in August 2001, Cmdr. Peter Paar joined with the SPLA at the start of the dry season in November 2001 to attack the Lundin installations and ambush government convoys to the Lundin rig site at Ryer/Thar Jath.
Because of adverse military developments, Lundin suspended operations in Block 5A on January 22, 2002 (see below, “Lundin Suspends Operations Due To ‘Insecurity,’ 2002,”).
The government also moved ahead with allocating the rights to other concession areas neighboring Blocks 1, 2, and 4 and Block 5A. Petronas was to be the lead partner, with Sudapet, OMV, and Lundin participation, in the development of Block 5B, south of Block 5A, Petronas announced in July 2000.897 The main towns in Block 5B were Nyal and Ganyliel.
In September 2001, Blocks 3 and 7 (Melut Basin) in Eastern Upper Nile seemed ready to take off, from a government point of view. The government announced numerous times that certain countries and companies were interested in development of these Blocks 3 and 7.898 Finally, Gulf Petroleum Corporation (the Qatari company that already held the concession), CNPC, the Al-Thani Corporation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Sudapet signed an agreement to conduct joint operations in Blocks 3 and 7 under the name of Petrodar. It had plans to drill twenty wells there in 2002.899 CNPC had already announced that it had begun oil exploration there in March 2001.900
The government frequently announced the comings and goings of oil company officials and foreign government representatives interested in entering the oil business in Sudan.901 Some of them concluded agreements, including Slavneft (Russia’s oil company agreed with the government to work in Blocks 9 and 11 in northern Sudan)902 and the Russian republic of Tatarstan’s oil company Tatneft. It appeared that Tatneft signed an agreement with Gulf Petroleum to participate in development of Blocks 3 and 7. It also signed a memorandum on long-term cooperation with the ministry of energy and mining.903
As of the writing of this report, aside from the on-going 10,000 b/d production at Block 3, none of these other blocks were producing oil.
765 “Over 100 pro-government militia commanders meeting in Juba,” Khartoum Monitor, April 25, 2001; “Pro-government militias to be unified under army supervision, says official,” Republic of Sudan Radio, Omdurman, in Arabic, March 4, 2001, as translated in BBC Monitoring Service, March 4, 2001.
766 The provisional military council of the SSDF announced on April 27, 2001, was as follows: Cmdr., Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep (Bul Nuer); Deputy Commander (D/C) and Cmdr. For Operations Gordon Kong Chol (Eastern Jikany Nuer); D/C for administration Cmdr. Emmanuel A. Ocholimoi (Latuka); D/C for logistics and supplies Maj. Gen. Ismail Konyi (Murle); D/C for security and intelligence Cmdr. Elio Benson Otome (Acholi); D/C for training Cmdr. Ater Benjamin Bil (Dinka Agar); D/C for political mobilization Cmdr. John Macham (Dinka Bor/Twic); D/C for mobile force Cmdr. Simon Gatwich Dual (Lou Nuer, Waat); Cmdr. Equatoria military area Martin Terensio Kenyi (Bari); Cmdr. Upper Nile military area Brig. Gabriel Tanginya (Lak Nuer); Cmdr. Bahr El Ghazal military area Maj. Gen. Tom El Nur (Kreish, the largest of the Fertit groups in western Bahr El Ghazal). The Didinga, Mandari, and Toposa militias did not appear to be represented in the leadership.
767 “Conference ends with unification of southern factions,” Khartoum Monitor, April 28, 2001.
768 See Human Rights Watch, Civilian Devastation.
769 Prior Gatdet/Paar fighting in 2000 in Block 5A was not considered a violation of Wunlit, because there was no perceptible Nuer-Dinka faceoff; it was intra-Nuer fighting.
770 U.S. Department of State Press Statement, “Report of Attack on UN Relief Base in Southern Sudan,” Washington, D.C., March 1, 2001.
771 West Bank Peace Council meeting, Ganyliel, Western Upper Nile, April 5-7, 2001, resolutions.
772 In Eastern Upper Nile, the SPDF had continued to cooperate with the SPLA forces against the government and the progovernment forces of Nuer militia leader Cmdr. Gordon Kong Chuol. Biel Torkech Rambang, Human Rights Watch interview, Washington, D.C., March 14, 2001.
773 Local Nuer leader, Human Rights Watch interview, Eastern Upper Nile village, July 29, 2002.
774 Residents of Eastern Upper Nile village where Riek Machar spoke in March 2001 which was then “captured” by SPLA from SPDF in May 2001, Human Rights Watch interviews, Eastern Upper Nile, July-August 2003.
775 SPLA radio operator, Human Rights Watch interview, Eastern Upper Nile village, July 31, 2002.
776 SPLA alternate commander, Human Rights Watch interview, Eastern Upper Nile village, July 31, 2002.
777 “Declaration on Unity Between the SPDF and SPLM/SPLA,” Nairobi, May 28, 2001, signed by Dr. Justin Yaac Arop and Prof. George Bureng Nyombe for the SPLM/A, and by Cmdr. Taban Deng Gai and Cmdr. James Kok for the SPDF. Both sides stated in the declaration that they had been “fully mandated by the leaders of the two movements.”
778 “The SPLA-SPDF Declaration: Unity or Defections?” South Sudan Post (Nairobi), p. 21.
779 SPDF press release, “SPDF Peace Committee Clarifies the Declaration of Unity Between the SPLA and the SPDF,” Nairobi, dated May 28, 2001. http://www.usinternet.com/users/helpssudan/SPDFpress33.jpg (accessed May 30, 2001). The signatories were Dr. Costello Garang Riny, Simon Kun Pouc (of RASS), Cmdr. Kuong Dahnier Gatluak (security/military intelligence), Cmdr. Nyang Chuol Dhora, and Professor Gabriel Geit Jal.
780 “Sudan: Rebel official comments on merger between two southern groups,” Al Rai al A’am web site, in Arabic, Khartoum, May 30, 2001, as translated in BBC Monitoring Service, May 30, 2001.
781 “Western Upper Nile Koch Peace Covenant,” Upper Nile People to People Peace and Reconciliation Conference, Koch, Western Upper Nile/Unity State, January 26-February 1, 2002.
782 Nairobi Declaration of Unity, as reproduced in “The SPLM/A and SPDF Have Merged into one Movement,” South Sudan Post (Nairobi), January 2002, p. 6.
783 “Consolidating Unity of the Movement,” South Sudan Post (Nairobi), February 2002, pp.4-5.
785 Ten months later, however, the integration of the two forces was still lagging behind as SPLM/A peace talks with the government proceeded apace. After Riek Machar met in 2002 with Sudanese President Omar El Bashir, suddenly the SPLM/A moved to consolidate the integration of the SPDF into the SPLM/A. “Sudan: President discusses peace with southern rebel leaders in Kenya,” Republic of Sudan Radio, Omdurman, in Arabic, October 16, 2002, as translated in BBC Monitoring Service, October 16, 2002; “Approval of Special Joint Committee Recommendations,” signed by Dr. John Garang de Mabior and Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, Nairobi, October 23, 2002.
786 John Garang, as quoted in “Making Politics and War Together, “ Africa Confidential (London), March 8, 2002, p. 5.
787 Sudan Alliance Forces (SAF) Political Department press release, “The Historic Unification of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Sudan Alliance Force (SAF),” Asmara, Eritrea, March 15, 2002.
788 Summary of Tito Biel’s press briefing aired on Sudan TV on February 2, 2002. Email from viewer, February 5, 2002. This confirmed a report by Nuer activists who saw Cmdr. Tito Biel Chuor and Capt. Mark Liah, also of Riek Machar’s forces, being smuggled out of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on a Sudan Airways plane. Western Upper Nile Information Desk – South Sudan, topic no. 002/Jan/001/2002, “Senior SPDF Commander Tito Biel Chuor and Captain Marko Liah defected to Khartoum,” Nairobi, January 30, 2002.
789 See “The United States: Diplomacy Revived.”; Human Rights Watch backgrounder on the Danforth report, at http://hrw.org/backgrounder/africa/danforth-bck0515.htm (accessed November 3, 2002).
790 Cmdr. Peter Gatdet, interviewed on April 24, 2001, by John Ryle and Georgette Gagnon, “Report of An Investigation into Oil Development, Conflict and Displacement in Western Upper Nile, Sudan,” London and Toronto, October 15, 2001, p. 27. A report by a Khartoum-based Canadian consular officer, Nicholas Coghlan, confirmed that the location had been attacked by Cmdr. Peter Gatdet. Ibid.
791 Quoted in “Report of an Investigation into Oil Development,” p. 29.
792 People in Nimne reported that they heard bombing from that location in late January. Email, OLS worker to Human Rights Watch, February 9, 2001 (anonymity requested).
794 “Sudanese rebels claim attack on oil regions of Sudan, killing dozens,” AFP, Cairo, January 27, 2001.
795 Yusuf Khazin, “Southern Sudan rebel commander comments on oilfield attacks, uranium extraction,” location “at a forward position on the front line close to the oilfields in the Bentiu area,” Al-Hayat (London), July 31, 2001.
796 SPLM/A press release, “SPLA Forces Destroy a Big Enemy Convoy in Oilfields,” Nairobi, June 12, 2001.
797 Peter Strandberg, “Bloody War Over Sudan’s Oilfields,” Goteborgs-Posten (Goteborg, Sweden), Chot Jok, Western Upper Nile/Unity State, June 26, 2001.
798 SPLM/A press release, “SPLA Destroys Another Huge Enemy Convoy in Western Upper Nile (WUN),” Nairobi, July 6, 2001. The press release said that the ambush occurred on July 1 and the convoy was destroyed after three days of fighting on July 4. Yusuf Khazin, “Southern Sudan rebel commander comments on oilfield attacks,,” July 31, 2001.
799 “Beshir vows to hold onto oilfields amid mobilization against rebels,” AFP, Khartoum, June 7, 2001.
800SPLM/A press release, “SPLA Destroys Heglig Oil Rig and Helicopter,” Nairobi, August 9, 2001.
801 “Report of an Investigation into Oil Development,” p. 31.
802 Ibid., p. 28, quoting a well-placed nongovernmental source.
803 “SPLA says it killed 429 Sudanese soldiers in attacks on oilfields,” AFP, Cairo, October 21, 2001.
804 “Depopulating Sudan’s Oil Regions, January to March 2002,” by Diane deGuzman, edited by Egbert G.Ch. Wesselink, for the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS), Amsterdam, May 14, 2002, pp. 3, 6-8.
805 Ibid., pp. 3, 6-8, 12.
806 Georgette Gagnon and John Ryle, “Report of an Investigation into Oil Development, Conflict, and Displacement,” Toronto and London, May 15, 2001 (Preliminary Report, May 15, 2001). This was a summary of the investigation. The full report was issued on October 15, 2001. Georgette Gagnon is an international lawyer who was a member of the Harker team and later a U.N. supervising attorney for 140 U.N. human rights officers in Bosnia. John Ryle is Anthropology and Africa Editor of the Times Literary Supplement (London) and Chair of the Kenya and U.K.-based Rift Valley Institute. He was a U.K. government nominee to the U.S. State Department-sponsored International Eminent Persons Group reporting on Slavery and Abduction in Sudan in 2002.
807 See, e.g., Andrew Harding, “Sudan rebels threaten oil workers,” BBC News Online, April 8, 2001 (quoting John Wijial, who “walked for five days through the bush after his home was attacked by a helicopter gunship. He said two of his children had been killed.”).
808 Nicholas Coughlan, Canadian consular officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Khartoum, email dated March 1, 2001, quoted in “Report of an Investigation into Oil Development,” p. 31.
810 Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft, 1993-94 edition (Surrey, U.K.: Jane’s Information Group, 1993), pp. 294-95.
811 Charlie Gills, “Talisman airstrip used by military, CEO discloses,” National Post (Toronto), January 14, 2000; Talisman Energy, Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2000, Sudan Operations,” April 2001, p. 14.
812 “Statement by John Dor, Governor of Unity State, Sudan,” May 2001, from Reg Manhas, Senior Advisor, Corporate Responsibility, Talisman Energy,, email attachment to Human Rights Watch, May 23, 2001. John Dor Majok was appointed governor of Wihda (Western Upper Nile/Unity) State by order of President Omar el Bashir in February 2001. “Sudan: President Bashir appoints state governors,” Sudan TV, Omdurman, in Arabic, February 23, 2001, as translated in BBC Monitoring Middle East, February 28, 2001.
813 It is estimated that the majority of the government troops are poverty-stricken and/or conscripted southerners and westerners.
814 Email, OLS worker to Human Rights Watch, February 9, 2001 (anonymity requested).
815 Statement by John Dor, May 2001.
816 Email, OLS worker to Human Rights Watch,, February 9, 2001. The chief was interviewed in February 2001 in Nimne, to which he and his followers had fled.
817 Reverend Gary Kusunoki came from the California organization Safe Harbor International Relief, the missionary arm of Calvary Chapel—described by the Newsweek reporter accompanying him as a fundamentalist church from Orange County, California. The reverand oversaw the delivery of twenty tons of goods to the Nhialdiu area over three days by plane from Lokichokkio, 500 miles to the south. The goods included supplies of medicine, corn, soap, Bibles in Nuer, and 440 pounds of salt, a valuable commodity. Tom Masland, “Soldiers of Christ,” Newsweek (New York), April 9, 2001.
818 Testimony of Gary Kusunoki before the House Committee on International Affairs, Washington, D.C., March 28, 2001.
819 Masland, “Soldiers of Christ.” p. 18.
821 Testimony of Gary Kusunoki, March 28, 2001.
822 Masland, “Soldiers of Christ,” p. 19.
823 “Rebels Claim 254 Government, Allied Troops Killed in Southern Sudan,” AFP, Nairobi, December 19, 2001. The SPLM/A claimed victory, reportedly killing 130 soldiers and capturing a number of rifles.
824 U.N. Security Situation Report, week 50/51/52, Khartoum, December 10-30, 2001. Tanginya was wounded in the incident, his body guard and one of his wives killed. Nine soldiers were killed and nineteen wounded badly enough to warrant evacuation to Khartoum. Ibid.
825 It was in SPLA hands at the time of a Human Rights Watch visit in June 2003, despite several attacks on it that year.
826 “On the 20th of December 2001 at around 17:00 hrs the Lundin helicopter (operated by Gulf Air) was shot at and hit by (at least) small arms fire. This incident took place approx. 100-km south of Rubkona. The Pilot (Australian) was hit by a bullet and evacuated to Johannesburg (South Africa) for treatment. Also, two GoS military were hit by shrapnel.” U.N. Security Situation Report, week 50/51/52, December 10-30, 2001.
827 Email, journalist to Human Rights Watch, February 20, 2002 (confidentiality requested); email, relief worker to Human Rights Watch, February 21, 2002 (confidentiality requested).
828 SPDF press statement, “The SPDF forces Lundin Petroluem out of Block 5A in Western Upper Nile,” January 22, 2002, including photos of captured equipment, http://www.usinternet.com/users/helpssudan/SPDFpress39.html (accessed June 24, 2002).
829 “Sudan: Government and SPLA clash in Upper Nile,” IRIN, Nairobi, January 24, 2002.
830 Lundin press release, “Lundin Petroleum Announces a Temporary Suspension of Activities in Block 5A Sudan,” Stockholm, January 22, 2002.
831 SPDF press statement, “SPDF kills 165 enemy soldiers in Western Upper Nile,” Nairobi, January 28, 2002, http://www.usinternet.com/users/helpssudan/SPDFpress40.html (accessed June 25, 2002).
833 “Oilfield, Battlefield,” Africa Confidential (London), March 8, 2002, p.4.
835 Christian Aid and DanChurchAid, “Hiding Between the Streams. An Advocacy and Humanitarian Assessment Trip to Western Upper Nile March 28th – 31st 2002,” Nairobi, London, and Copenhagen, April 11, 2002, pp. 5-6.
836 SPDF press statement, “Battle over Leer airstrip,” Nairobi, February 2, 2002, http://www.usinternet.com/users/helpssudan/SPDFpress42.html (accessed June 25, 2002).
837 “Hiding Between the Streams,” p. 5.
839 “Depopulating Sudan’s Oil Regions,” p. 10
840 “Depopulating Sudan’s Oil Regions.”
841 “Hiding Between the Streams.”
842 “Depopulating Sudan’s Oil Regions,” p. 14.
843 Ibid., p. 11.
844 “Hiding Between the Streams,” p. 3.
845 Ibid., p. 1.
846 Ibid., p. 4.
847 Gary W. Kenny, KAIROS Researcher/Policy Advocate, “Report of an Investigation into Forced Displacement in the Town of Mankien, Western Upper Nile,” April 2002. The researcher visited Twic County in northern Bahr El Ghazal where he interviewed the displaced Bul Nuer.
848 “Report of an Investigation into . . . Mankien,” p. 9.
849 Nyewit Jaguna, interview, February 14, 2001, quoted in ibid., p. 8.
850 Ibid., p. 6.
851 Frank Norbury, “Playing God in Hell, Field Report from Sudan, Western Upper Nile Area,” ICI Foundation, February 28, 2002, p. 2. The ICI Foundation is the nonprofit arm of International Charter Inc. (ICI), a frequent contractor to various U.S. agencies including the State Department. http://www.icioregon.com/index.htm (accessed June 24, 2002). ICI provided relief and protection and evacuation services for the U.N. and U.S. in West Africa; its armed defense of the U.S. embassy in Monrovia in 1996, logistical services in delivery of forty tons of food to refugees the WFP could not reach, and other services in Liberia won it the State Department’s award of “Small Business Contractor of the Year.” http://www.icioregon.com/nomination.htm (accessed June 24, 2002). ICI was brought into Sudan by pressure from U.S. congressmen frustrated that the State Department was perceived to be sitting on funds allocated to help the south “protect civilians from Sudan government attacks,” according to an ICI representative. Human Rights Watch interview, Washington, D.C., March 2002. ICI was promised a “grant” of U.S. $ 1 million by the State Department to train paramedics destined to work with the SPLA forces, although it was skeptical that it would ever see that funding and within a few months was no longer operating in Sudan. Ibid.
852 “Playing God in Hell.”
853 Ibid. His summaries are based on his interviews with SPLA officers, displaced persons and chiefs, and six Sudanese government army soldiers that had defected to the SPLM/A after the battle of Nhialdiu. “Debriefing the soldiers resulted in their confirmation of a large number of civilian casualties in the town and surrounding areas. They confirmed that the casualties were caused by [Sudanese government] small arms fire, helicopter gun-ships and bombing of the town. Exact numbers could not be determined.” Ibid.
854 “Hiding Between the Streams;” “Depopulating Sudan’s Oil Regions, January-March, 2002.”
855 There is a relief airstrip at Nhialdiu but nothing resembling a modern airport. The SPLA does not have an airforce.
856 “Depopulating Sudan’s Oil Regions,” p. 18.
857 “Sudan: ‘Extreme concern’ at potential food crisis,” IRIN, Nairobi, January 10, 2001.
858 WFP press release, “Acute hunger set to hit Sudan as war continues and drought unfolds,” Nairobi, February 13, 2001.
859 Letter, Nicholas Siwinga, WFP Country Director Sudan, Khartoum, to Alastair Lyon, Reuters Bureau chief, Cairo, February 21, 2001.
860 “Fighting the Main Cause of Displacement,” IRIN, Nairobi, May 16, 2001.
861 “Malnutrition Rates In Bentiu ‘Among the Highest,’” IRIN, Nairobi, April 30, 2001.
862 “The SPLA Commissioner of Ruweng County was interviewed by the investigators at Padit airstrip, where craters from bombing raids and burned houses from ground attacks were readily visible.” “Report of an Investigation into Oil Development,” p. 31.
863 Greg Palkot, “Oil Fuels Fighting in Sudan,” Fox News, Padit, Sudan, July 20, 2001.
864 “Polio Outbreak Confirmed in Western Upper Nile,” IRIN, Nairobi, July 25, 2001.
865 “U.N. seeks assurance for probe of Sudan polio case,” Reuters, U.N., July 27, 2001.
866 “Depopulating Sudan’s Oil Regions,” p. 3, 6. Another human rights investigating team estimated that the government of Sudan had displaced between 50,000 and 75,000 civilians from Rubkona County (Block 1) during this period. “Hiding Between the Streams,” pp. 3, 9, 10.
867 Ibid., p. 4.
868 “Depopulating Sudan’s Oil Regions,” p. 3.
869 WFP/OLS Southern Sector, “Internally Displaced Persons in Southern Sudan,” Briefing document prepared for the U.N. Inter-Agency Network on IDP’s in Sudan, March 2002, p. 2.
870 “Report on the situation of human rights in the Sudan,” prepared for the General Assembly by Leonardo Franco, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, A/54/467, agenda item 117 (c), October 19, 1999.
871 “During my visit I gathered further evidence that oil exploitation leads to an exacerbation of the conflict with serious consequences on the civilians. More specifically, I received information whereby the Government is resorting to forced eviction of local population and destruction of villages to depopulate areas and allow for oil operations to proceed unimpeded. I was informed that all the villages around Nhialdiu, in Nimne, south of Bentiu, have been burnt to the ground and crop has been destroyed. Similarly, all the villages along the road up to Pulteri [Pultutni], in the surrounding of the oilfields at Rier, have been razed.” Oral statement of the special rapporteur on human rights in Sudan Gerhart Baum to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, Geneva, March 29, 2001, http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/0/072FE7F713DE0F4FC1256A29002A3757?opendocument
872 "There is a bad climate in Sudan as far as human rights are concerned. . . . The situation now is worse than one year before. . . . It is a fact that oil is fueling the war," Gerhart Baum said in London. Mara D. Bellaby, "Human rights violations in Sudan are increasing, official says," AP, London, June 27, 2001.
873 Statement of special rapporteur on human rights in Sudan, to U.N. General Assembly, A/56/336, New York, September 7, 2001, http://www.unhchr.ch/huridocda/huridoca.nsf/AllSymbols/6AAED3320D897CC9C1256AE1004CEAE3/$File/N0153058.pdf?OpenElement (accessed August 13, 2003).
874 Report of the special rapporteur, Gerhart Baum, to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, “Situation of human rights in the Sudan,” E/CN.4/2002/46, Geneva, January 23, 2002, http://www.unhchr.ch/Huridocda/Huridoca.nsf/TestFrame/64639579934bf6dcc125669d002cfbcd?opendocument (accessed June 20, 2002).
880 “Report on the situation of human rights in the Sudan,” prepared for the U.N. Commission on Human Rights by Gerhart Baum, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, E/CN.4/2003/42, January 6, 2003, http://www.unhchr.ch/huridocda/huridoca.nsf/AllSymbols/898215E39269A2A3C1256CD3004BA3D8/$File/G0310060.pdf?OpenElement (accessed August 13, 2003); “Report on the situation of human rights in the Sudan,” prepared for the U.N. General Assembly by Gerhart Baum, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, A/57/326, August 20, 2002, http://www.unhchr.ch/huridocda/huridoca.nsf/AllSymbols/BFD92A8B2481E657C1256C5D003360C5/$File/N0253192.pdf?OpenElement (accessed August 13, 2003). “The Special Rapporteur has continued to receive alarming information pointing to the continuation of grave human rights abuses linked to oil exploitation, aimed at depopulating oil-rich areas to ensure their control.” Ibid.
881 U.N. OLS (Southern Sector) press release, “UN and Aid Agencies welcome agreement between Sudan Government and Rebels,” Nairobi, October 15, 2002; Memorandum signed by Dr Sulaf el Din Salih (for the government of Sudan), Elijah Malok (for the SPLM/A), and Ronald Sibanda (for the U.N.), “Meeting Held On The Implementation Of Clause 5 Of The Machakos Mou On Unimpeded Humanitarian Access,” Nairobi, 25-26 October 2002. According to a top U.S. AID official, Roger Winter, the Sudanese government has substantially complied with the humanitarian access agreement, although it was responsible for major access problems for almost two decades. http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/intlrel/hfa87089.000/hfa87089_0f.htm (accessed August 13, 2003).
882 U.N. Commission on Human Rights draft resolution E/CN.4/2003/L.35 on human rights in the Sudan was rejected 24-26 (with three abstentions) at the 59th session of the Commission on April 16, 2003. U.N. Commission on Human Rights, http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/2/59chr/voting16pm.htm (accessed August 14, 2003).
883 “Sudan consortium to drill 17 exploration wells in 2001,” Reuters, Khartoum, January 9, 2001.
884 The 2000 production target was 165,000 barrels per day, which was exceeded by the actual production of 180,000 b/d. Ibid.
885 Andrew England, “Sudan’s oil production doing better than anticipated,” AP, Khartoum, May 10, 2001.
886 Ibid. Talisman budgeted U.S. $ 66 million and $ 133 million for exploration and development in 2000 and 2001, respectively. “Sudan consortium to drill 17 wells,” January 9, 2001. This included “including pipeline and central processing facility upgrades . . . . ” Talisman press release, “Talisman’s 2001 Growth Supported by $ 1.7 Billion Exploration and Development Program,” Business Wire (Vancouver), Calgary, January 23, 2001.
887 Bamboo, because of its location north of Heglig, was considered a “low-risk” area and was protected by only fifty government army troops housed in canvas tents outside the main defensive earth wall. Nicholas Coughlan, quoted in “Report of an Investigation into Oil Development,” p. 28. “Sudan opens oilfield producing 15,000 bpd – paper,” Reuters, Khartoum, July 28, 2001, quoting the pro-government newspaper Akhbar al Youm.
889 Talisman press release, “Talisman Expects Strong Production Growth in 2002, $ 2 Billion in Spending,” Calgary, January 14, 2002.
890 PFC strategic studies report findings (August 2002), http://www.csis.org/africa/0208_SudanPFCSum.pdf (accessed August 21, 2003).
891 Talisman, CSIS presentation, April 2002.
892 Lundin Oil press release, “Lundin Oil Commences Testing on Thar Jath,” Geneva, January 30, 2001.
893 Lundin Oil press release, “Lundin Strikes Oil In Sudan,” Business Wire (Vancouver), March 5, 2001.
896 “Lundin Oil: Report for the Six Months ended 30 June 2001,” Stockholm, August 9, 2001.
897 “Malaysian oil firm given stake in Sudan project: report,” AFP, Kuala Lumpur, July 13, 2000.
898 On April 4, 2001, Deputy Defence Minister Col. Ibrahim Shams Ed-din and thirteen other senior army officers died when visiting the area. Their military Antonov went down in a sandstorm trying to land at the Adar Yel airstrip in Block 3, Eastern Upper Nile. Mohamed Ali Saeed, “Sandstorm blamed for Sudanese plane crash that left 15 dead,” AFP, Khartoum, April 5, 2001. President El Bashir said at his memorial service that Shams Ed-din had never been absent for a full week from the front lines, and “has persistently sought martyrdom.” The president then vowed, “We will continue on the path chosen by the martyrs and will remain faithful to that path. There is no peace without Islam and Islamic law.” Ibid.
899 “Sudan: Four Oil Companies Announce Merger,” SUNA, Khartoum, September 1, 2001; Reuters Business Briefings (RBB), in BBCMIR, September 2, 2001.
900 The CNPC announced in March 2001 that it was carrying out oil exploration in this area of 72,400 square kilometers. “New Oil Exploration Announced,” IRIN, Nairobi, March 12, 2001. The CNPC said that the company’s partners were Gulf Petroleum, 46 percent; CNPC and Thani, both 23 percent; and Sudapet, 8 percent.
901 See “Japanese company seeking investment in oil, gas exploration,” SUNA, Khartoum, May 24, 2001 (Mitsui Company).
902 “Russian Firm to Prospect for Oil Around Khartoum,”PANA, Khartoum, April 22, 2001; “Russian oil company in deal with Sudan,” Kommersant (Moscow), April 24, 2001, in Russian, as translated in BBC Monitoring Service, April 30, 2001; “Russian-Belarusian oil firm to develop Sudanese deposits,” Interfax, Moscow, July 20, 2001 (the government and Slavneft planned to sign a production sharing agreement for Block 9 in 2001 and start work before the end of the year); “Slavneft Eyes Sudan Oilfields,” Reuters, Moscow, April 24, 2001.
903 “Russia: Tatarstan signs agreement on joint oil extraction in Sudan,” ITAR-TASS (in English), Kazan, Russia, June 21, 2001, from BBC Monitoring Service, June 21, 2001.