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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 Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.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

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: East Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +economy/development+ +security/peace+
Summary Contents:

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 development.

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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 southern Sudan.

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 areas.

"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 development.

"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 the world.

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 at]

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 year.

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 International.

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 eastern front".

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 Madagascar.

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 region.

"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 neighbouring villagers.

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

Web Site:

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 violence.

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. +254.2.570225

News Releases - January to March 2001

January 23, 2001

Talisman's 2001 Growth Supported By $1.7 Billion Exploration and Development Program

[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 Email:

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 rights.

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