Get AfricaFocus Bulletin by e-mail!
Print this page
Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published
by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action
from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived
document may not work.
Sudan: Recent Documents
Sudan: Recent Documents
Date distributed (ymd): 010129
Document reposted by APIC
Region: East Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +economy/development+
This posting contains several recent documents and links concerning
the war and human rights in Sudan, and the role of oil companies
such as Talisman in supporting the Sudanese regime. The documents
below include a press release from the U.S. Committee for Refugees,
a summary article from the African Church Information Service in
Nairobi, a statement from Comboni Missionaries working in Sudan,
and excerpts from a Talisman press release reporting on production
increases and plans for increased investment in exploration and
U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR)
January 23, 2001
Contact: Roger Winter/Jeff Drumtra
Sudan's Military Bombed Civilian Sites 152 Times Last Year;
Evidence of Larger Bombs and Use of Helicopter Gunships
Sudanese government planes bombed civilian and humanitarian targets
at least 152 times in southern and central Sudan last year,
according to a final review of field reports by the U.S. Committee
for Refugees (USCR).
The bombings have continued at an unrelenting pace this year, with
eight confirmed bomb attacks against civilian and humanitarian
sites during the first three weeks of January.
The Sudanese government appears to be using larger, more powerful
bombs and has unleashed helicopter gunships in some of its most
recent attacks against villages and farming communities, according
to evidence collected by USCR during a just-completed site visit to
Last year's 152 confirmed bombings--documented by UN humanitarian
agencies, private international aid organizations, and local church
workers--mean that aerial attacks occurred, on average, nearly
three times each week during 2000. The attacks intensified during
the final months of the year, with 38 known bombings during
November and December combined.
The Sudanese government has deliberately bombed its own citizens
during much of the country's 17-year civil war to force populations
to flee and to disrupt local economies and international relief
efforts. Last year, however, was the first year that comprehensive
documentation by humanitarian agencies on the ground revealed the
full scope of the government's bombing campaign.
The grim final tally of 152 bombings last year is almost certainly
an underestimate. Aerial bombings in remote areas of southern
Sudan often remain unreported to the outside world and are
therefore difficult to count. Fuller documentation of the Sudanese
government's aerial attacks would probably reveal that 200 or more
bombings actually occurred last year, USCR estimates.
USCR Executive Director Roger Winter last week completed a site
visit to southern Sudan, where he investigated a new bombing site
in Bahr el-Ghazal Province and spoke to civilian survivors. Winter
reported evidence that the Sudanese government is using larger,
more powerful bombs in recent attacks. Survivors also reported to
USCR that government forces are increasingly using helicopter
gunships to push local residents from lucrative oil-producing
"The Sudanese government's objective seems to be to push people
from their homes in preparation for a large new military offensive
and to depopulate areas to begin exploitation of expanded oil
fields," Winter said. "The bomb craters I investigated are larger
and deeper than those previously seen, suggesting that Sudanese
planes might be using larger or more sophisticated bombs. Some
bomb craters were more than ten feet deep. This is a new
"Local villagers reported that they were attacked by helicopter
gunships," Winter stated. "I spoke with people wounded in the
helicopter attacks. Helicopter gunships are a lethal weapon against
civilians in southern Sudan's flat, open terrain."
Sudanese military planes have bombed civilian and humanitarian
targets at least 279 times during the past four years, according to
a USCR review of available field reports by humanitarian agencies.
An estimated 2 million people have died of causes linked to Sudan's
civil war during the past 17 years. Some 4.4 million Sudanese have
been forced from their homes--the largest uprooted population in
Government, SPLA Accused Of Human Rights Violations
African Church Information Service (Nairobi) January 15, 2001
By Charles Omondi Nairobi
[Note: The Full HRW report referred to in this article can be found
Gains from oil exports are fuelling the 18-year-old civil war in
Sudan, the latest report by the Human Rights Watch says. The report
further paints a gloomy picture of efforts to end the current phase
of the civil war that began nearly two decades ago. The bombardment
of civilian targets by the government, that marked most of last
year, is variously referred to in the report.
The annual report of the Human Rights Watch further reveals that
both the government of Sudan and the rebel groups in the vast
African country remained gross human rights abusers in a war that
has defied numerous peace initiatives.
A gloomy picture is also painted of efforts to end the current
phase of the civil war that began in 1983. "Negotiations to end the
war appeared fruitless, whatever the forum or venue. The parties
remained stalled on the issues of the relation of religion to the
state and self determination," the Human Rights Watch Report says.
Sudan, ranked among the world's poorest nations, began exporting
oil in August 1999, following the successful completion of 1,650
kilometres pipeline from Bentiu in the south to Port Sudan.
Beginning with an average of 150,000 barrels daily, the output
quickly rose to 200,000 barrels per day and raked in huge profits
for the military regime.
The oil exports helped boost GDP growth to an estimated 7.2 percent
last calendar year against a targeted six percent, according to
Sudanese Finance Minister Mohamed Khair al-Zubair. He put oil
income at $1.327 billion in 2000, up from $530 million the previous
Analysts had from the onset of the oil exportation expressed their
apprehension that the abundant revenue accrued from trade would
mean that Khartoum had lost any incentive whatsoever for a peaceful
solution to the conflict.
"Why would a brutal junta, which has violated virtually every human
right in the book, make peace with its adversary if it has the
resources to be victorious and impose its final solution?" posed
Mel Middleton, the director of Canadian NGO Freedom Quest
The government, however, put up a strong defence insisting that the
wealth was what she needed to initiate equitable development that
would pacify the war-ravaged Sudanese society.
"In the seemingly endless 17-year civil war, the government stepped
up its brutal expulsions of southern villagers from the oil
production areas and trumpeted its resolve to use the oil income
for more weapons," says the report.
It adds: "Under the leadership of President (Lt Gen) Omar El
Bashir, the government intensified its bombing of civilian targets
in the war, denied relief food to needy civilians, and abused
children's rights, particularly through its military and logistical
support for the Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army LRA, which
held an estimated 6,000 Ugandan children captive on
government-controlled Sudanese territory".
Other evidence on the use of oil incomes for war purposes included
Khartoum's announcement that the gains, constituting 20 percent of
its 2000 revenue, would be used for defence, including an arms
factory near Khartoum. Defence spending in US dollars increased 96
percent from 1998 to 2000.
"Not coincidentally, the government's use of air power and bombing
increased. When SPLA violations of the cease-fire in Bahr El Ghazal
temporarily halted the movement of the government's military train,
the government counter-attacked by bombing not only the cease-fire
area, but also the rest of the south, the Nuba Mountains, and the
The Human Rights Watch account is another devastating indictment of
Canadian Talisman Energy Inc., the lead company in Sudan's oil
exploration business. Other well-known partners to the Sudanese
government in the oil industry are Malaysian and Chinese companies.
Talisman, asserted Amnesty International in its report on Sudan and
oil development (May 2000), is complicit in massive human rights
violations. "It is also responsible for sending revenues to
Khartoum for huge military expenditures, expenditures which end up
taking an increasingly horrific toll on civilians in the South,"
the report said.
The report points out that Sudan's human rights record of gross
abuses was one factor that denied her a Security Council seat at
the UN General Assembly vote last October. Sudan was the
Organisation of African Unity's OAU preferred candidate but
concerted opposition by United States and Uganda saw the seat go to
Not surprisingly, the bombardment of civilian targets by the
government, that marked most of last year, is mentioned more than
once in the report. "In July, 250 bombs hit civilians and their
infrastructure in the attacks, which set a new high according to
conservative calculations based on UN relief reports. Among areas
targeted for attack were relief, health and school facilities".
Khartoum is further accused of arming tribal militias from the Arab
Baggara tribes (the muraheleen of Western Sudan) for use as proxy
fighting forces against the Dinka civilians in the Bahr El Ghazal
"Although slave-taking became their trademark, the muraheleen
conducted few successful slave raids in 2000 because the SPLA
deployed forces in the northern Bahr El Ghazal and armed the Dinka
boys guarding the cattle camps".
The muraheleen were also used to guard the military train to the
southern town of Wau, from which they attacked and plundered the
Like is the case almost everywhere in sub-Saharan Africa,
conditions in Sudanese prisons remained shocking. The Omdurman
Women's Prison is singled out for mention for chronic overcrowding,
lack of sanitation, disease and death from epidemics among children
who lived with their mothers.
Says the report: "The government annually pardoned women,
temporarily easing overcrowding before bringing in the next batch
of prisoners". Last year, Khartoum pardoned over 700 women majority
of whom were poverty-stricken Southerners convicted of brewing and
selling alcohol for their survival.
"As for the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army SPLM/A, "the
principal armed movement of the south and of all Sudan," the Human
Rights Watch Report says, "its forces continued to loot food
(including relief provisions) from the population, sometimes with
civilian casualties, recruit child soldiers, and commit rape".
The SPLA is further accused of failing to act decisively to calm
ethnic tension in some parts of their territory. Despite the
Church's "peacemaking efforts between the Didinga of Chukudum in
Eastern Equatoria, and the Bor Dinka who dominated the SPLA
garrison in Chukudum, hostilities continued".
"Sometime after the August 1999 cease-fire, the SPLA assigned
commanders of local origin to the garrison, but the local
population remained reluctant to return to their homes and fields
because of the landmines that the SPLA promised to remove but did
not," the report added.
The writer, Charles Omondi, is attached to the Sudan Catholic
Information Office in Nairobi.
Declaration of the Comboni Missionaries Working in Southern Sudan
Nairobi, 19 January 2001
Distributed by Sudan Infonet: An information and education service
of the Sudan Working Group -- USA
We, the Comboni Missionaries working in the "liberated areas" of
Southern Sudan, gathered for our annual assembly, have painfully
analysed and evaluated the present tragic situation of war and
We have come to the unanimous conviction that the situation of war
in Sudan at the present stage has become immoral and a tragic
farce. It is not any longer a struggle for freedom of the Sudanese
people and for the defence of human rights.
The war has become a struggle for power, business and greed. Many
heartless people are taking advantage of it and enrich themselves
at the expense of the poor. Global interests have the Sudanese
resources at heart, not the wellbeing of the Sudanese people.
Religion is distorted and misused as a means for other interests.
The number of victims is escalating, especially among women and
children. Spiritual, human and cultural values are getting lost.
Corruption, tribalism and fratricidal hatred are fostered.
Degradation, underdevelopment and anarchy increase. Humanity in
Sudan is getting lost.
The word "liberation" is abused. What improvement do we see?
Oppressors and oppressed are running for their life. Northerners
against Southerners, Northerners against Northerners, Southerners
against Southerners, Nuer and Dinka are fighting against Arabs.
Nuer and Arabs are fighting against Dinka. Dinka against Dinka.
Nuer against Nuer, Didinga against Dinka. There are no winners. All
are losing. NGOs and churches prolong the fighting through the
relief aid that unknowingly supports also the warring factions.
The country has so much wealth and natural resources that would
guarantee a good livelihood for all Sudanese.
We Comboni Missionaries, working in the Liberated Area of Southern
Sudan, have decided to "break the silence" and intensify our
commitment against the injustice that fuels the war in Sudan.
We appeal to you leaders of the warring sides: "In the name of God,
lay down the guns! Stop fighting!"
We appeal to all people of goodwill: "Break the silence" and
intensify your mediation for peace in Sudan!
We appeal to you, political and economic powers of the world, "Give
up your greed and your selfish interests! Help Sudan to regain its
lost humanity and identity."
For all the 30 missionaries present
The Justice and Peace committee co-ordinator
Fr. Michele Stragapede
P.O. Box 21102 - Nairobi (Kenya) tel. +254.2.562953 Fax.
News Releases - January to March 2001
January 23, 2001
Talisman's 2001 Growth Supported By $1.7 Billion Exploration and
[excerpts: full news release at:
CALGARY, Alberta - January 23, 2001 - Talisman Energy Inc. today
announced plans to invest a record $1.7 billion in exploration
and development programs in 2001, an increase of 44% over last
year. Production in 2001 is expected to average between 430,000
and 450,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), up from
approximately 410,000 boe/d in 2000. The Company plans to
release its year 2000 operating results (reserves, production,
finding costs) in mid-February and financial results on March 6.
Talisman anticipates that production will increase between 5-10%
in 2001. This estimate is based on existing projects and does
not reflect any significant acquisitions, dispositions or
exploration discoveries. Approximately 47% of Talisman's 2000
production was in Canada, 32% in the North Sea with the
remainder in Indonesia and Sudan.
Liquids Production (000 bbl/d)
1999 *2000 *2001
Canada 58 66 65-66
North Sea 59 112 132-138
Indonesia 29 20 18-19
Sudan 12 46 50-55
Total 158 244 265-278
Exploration & Development Spending ($Million)
1999 *2000 *2001
Canada 323 690 710
North Sea 296 315 565
Indonesia 54 70 115
Sudan 281 70 120
Rest of World 42 45 200
Total 996 1,190 1,710
In Sudan, approximately two thirds of the budget is allocated to
development projects, including pipeline and central processing
facility upgrades to increase nameplate capacity from 190,000 to
230,000 bbls/d. A total of 17 exploration and 25 development
wells are planned.
For further information, please contact:
David Mann, Manager, Investor Relations & Corporate
Communications Phone: 403-237-1196 Fax: 403-237-1210
More information on Talisman's Sudan operations:
Additional sources with background on oil in Sudan and the
campaign for divestment of Talisman stock:
This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the
Africa Policy Information Center (APIC). APIC provides
accessible information and analysis in order to promote U.S.
and international policies toward Africa that advance economic,
political and social justice and the full spectrum of human