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Date distributed (ymd): 011031
Document reposted by APIC
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Region: East Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +economy/development+
+security/peace+ +US policy focus+
This posting contains (1) excerpts from a newly released report on
the impact of oil on conflict in Sudan, based on investigative work
by Georgette Gagnon and John Ryle and funded by Canadian and
British non-governmental organizations, and (2) excerpts from an
article from the Foreign Policy in Focus project, analyzing changes
in U.S. policy towards Sudan following the September 11 attacks.
Report of an Investigation into Oil Development, Conflict and
Displacement in Western Upper Nile, Sudan
[excerpts from summary; full text at
Commissioning Agencies: Canadian Auto Workers Union; Steelworkers
Humanity Fund; The Simons Foundation; United Church of Canada,
Division of World Outreach; World Vision, Canada
REPORT OF AN INVESTIGATION INTO OIL DEVELOPMENT, CONFLICT AND
DISPLACEMENT IN WESTERN UPPER NILE, SUDAN
This report documents and places into context an intensification of
armed attacks on civilians in key areas of Sudan's contested oil
region in Western Upper Nile during 2000 and 2001. The attacks were
carried out by Government of Sudan (GoS) forces and local progovernment
militias and by rebel forces of, or aligned with, the
Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLA) and the Sudan Peoples'
Democratic Front / Defence Force (SPDF). A significant new
development in the period 2000-2001 is a higher number of direct
attacks on civilians by the armed forces of the Government of Sudan.
The report concentrates on the operational area of the Greater Nile
Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC), the oil consortium that
comprises the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Petronas
Carigali (the national petroleum company of Malaysia, or its
subsidiary Petronas Carigali Overseas Sudan Berhad), Sudapet (the
Sudan state petroleum company) and Canada's Talisman Energy
Control of the oil region of Sudan is contested between the
government and several rival non-government groups. Most of the
rural areas in the GNPOC concession have been outside the control
of the Government of Sudan since the start of the current civil war
in 1983. These areas have been intermittently controlled and
administered by two rebel movements, the Sudan Peoples' Liberation
Movement/Army (SPLM/A) (under the overall command of Dr. John
Garang de Mabior) and the former South Sudan Independence
Movement/Army - SSIM/A - (under Dr Riek Machar Teny). Today,
control of the non-government areas of the concession is divided
between the SPLM/A and commanders aligned with the Sudan Peoples'
Democratic Front/Defence Force (SPDF), a successor movement to the
For a short period in the late 1990s, a peace agreement between the
Government of Sudan and Riek Machar's SSIM/A allowed for the
extension of government authority into some of the rural areas of
the concession, enabling expansion of oil development and
completion of the pipeline from the oil fields north to Port Sudan.
SSIA forces had joined the government and were formed into the
South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF). The collapse of this peace
agreement in 2000, the growing conflict between Government of Sudan
forces and the former SSDF/SSIA forces, now regrouped as the Sudan
Peoples' Defence Forces (SPDF), and the increased presence of the
SPLA in the area have apparently prompted a modification of the
government's military strategy. The new strategy in Western Upper
Nile, this report suggests, is both more violent and more
territorially focused, involving coordinated attacks on civilian
settlements in which aerial bombardment and raids by helicopter
gunships are followed by ground attacks from government-backed
militias and government troops. These ground forces burn villages
and crops, loot livestock and kill and abduct people - mainly women
The increased intensity of the attacks, and the increased
importance of oil in the war economy, have provoked attacks on oil
installations by anti-government forces and further intensification
of military activity on all sides. Pro-government and
anti-government forces in conflict with one another have burned and
looted villages in all areas of Western Upper Nile.
The known involvement of oil companies in the conflict extends to
the documented use of their facilities by Government of Sudan armed
forces. The oil companies are therefore, knowingly or unknowingly,
involved in a government counter-insurgency strategy that involves
the forced displacement of local people from rural areas of the
Following the finding by the Canadian Assessment Mission to Sudan
(the Harker mission) in December 1999 that helicopter gunships and
Antonov bombers of the Government of Sudan had armed and re-fueled
at Heglig and from there attacked civilians, Talisman acknowledged
formally that its Heglig airstrip had been used for military
purposes. (Heglig is a government garrison town that is the center
of Talisman's oil operations in Sudan.) In January 2000, the
company stated that it had received undertakings from the
Government of Sudan that military use of the Heglig airstrip would
be limited to defensive purposes. However, in its Corporate Social
Responsibility Report released in April 2001, Talisman conceded
that in spite of what it described as its advocacy efforts
regarding the use of oil infrastructure for offensive military
purposes, "there were at least four instances of non-defensive
usage of the Heglig airstrip in 2000."
The present investigation concludes that the incidence of military
usage has been considerably higher and that it has continued. The
pattern of military usage is one of intentional targeting by
gunships of settlements - without regard to whether they are
occupied by civilians or combatants - in non-government controlled
areas in and around the concession. ...
The investigation has determined that at least two of the
government's helicopter gunships have been based at the oil
facilities in Heglig. Defecting soldiers from the Government of
Sudan army base in Heglig and civilian victims of gunship attacks
testified to the investigators that gunships had flown regular
sorties from Heglig to attack civilian settlements.
The investigators obtained eyewitness accounts from people attacked
by gunships in non-government controlled areas of the concession
throughout 2000 and 2001. These eyewitnesses identified flight
patterns of the attacking helicopters that indicated they came from
and returned to Heglig and other oil facilities in the concession.
The incidence of other human rights violations in and around the
concession area escalated in 2000 and early 2001. The investigation
documents a range of abuses connected with forced displacement of
the inhabitants of the area. Defecting soldiers from the Government
of Sudan's military base at Heglig testified that they had been
ordered to participate in ground attacks on non-government
controlled settlements around Pariang (a government-controlled
garrison town in the concession). ...
There were also a significant number of attacks and counterattacks
on settlements by armed groups aligned with the SPLA/M, and by
those aligned with the SPDF, the successor movement to the SSIM/A.
(Since mid-2000, some of the latter have been supplied with
ammunition from the government garrison in Bentiu.) Attacks, such
as the attack in February 2001 on Nyal, a UN relief hub and SPDF
command center, by Peter Gatdet Yaka, a commander aligned with the
SPLA, have been documented in other reports, most comprehensively
by Human Rights Watch ...
Forced displacement from Western Upper Nile connected to oil
development continued unabated in 2000 and early 2001. This
continuing process of displacement has repeatedly interrupted the
agricultural cycle and reduced livestock numbers, bringing the
inhabitants of some areas close to destitution. ...
In spite of claims to the contrary in oil company reports, this
investigation, while unable to gain access to governmentcontrolled
areas of oil development and following numerous
enquiries, is not aware of any evidence that significant economic
or other benefits from oil development are accruing to indigenous
communities in Western Upper Nile. There is no independent
verification of claims that the Government of Sudan is using oil
revenues to assist the civilian population in Talisman's concession
(or in Southern Sudan in general). ...
Oil revenues do correlate, however, with visible increases in
government military expenditure. For example, the Government of
Sudan recently established, with Chinese assistance, three new
factories for the manufacture of arms and ammunition near Khartoum.
... The new, intensified and more geographically focused nature of
government military strategy is also, as argued in this report,
clearly linked to oil development. ...
The investigation finds that oil development in Upper Nile has
exacerbated civil conflict and assisted the war aims of the
Government of Sudan, facilitating violations of human rights by
government forces and government-backed forces. Talisman's claim
that it serves as a positive influence on the Government of Sudan
and its policies is not supported by the findings of the
investigation; the evidence suggests that the company has been
unable to achieve such constructive engagement. ...
The displacement of the rural population, the oil-company
sponsored relief and development projects and oil development
itself all contribute to a counter-insurgency strategy that has
been consistently pursued by the Government of Sudan in the areas
of South Sudan that border the government-controlled North.
Western Upper Nile is one of these areas. Oil companies operating
there are part of this government strategy, whether they like it or
The report concludes that there is, among other urgent issues, a
pressing need to establish long-term, international, independent,
large-scale, expert, on-the-ground, field-based monitoring of
the effects of the war and oil development. ,,,
In the present circumstances, oil development and the associated
presence of foreign oil companies in Sudan is damaging to the
people of the oil areas. For their part, the companies effectively
assist the Government of Sudan war effort, thus exacerbating the
suffering of the inhabitants of the oil area and making the
prospect of peace more unlikely. Only a radical change in their
relation to the government could provide any justification for the
oil companies' continued presence in Sudan. ...
As the oil company most vocal in its claims for the benefits of oil
development, Talisman, despite its vaunted commitment to human
rights and good neighbourliness in its area of operation, has
neither instituted nor encouraged the establishment of an
independent, expert, long-term, field-based monitoring regime. In
the absence of such a regime, the self-proclaimed attempts by oil
companies and government agencies to mitigate the damaging impact
of oil development cannot be adequately measured or assessed. ...
Foreign Policy in Focus (http://www.fpif.org)
U.S.-Sudan Terrorism Ties Spell Disaster for Anti-Khartoum
By Jim Lobe
(Jim Lobe firstname.lastname@example.org is a contributing editor with
Foreign Policy In Focus, online at http://www.fpif.org, and an
editor with Inter Press Service in Washington, DC.)
[Excerpts only: full text at:
September 25, 2001
When President George W. Bush announced his "war" against
terrorism, activists who have lobbied hard to persuade Congress
to impose far-reaching sanctions against Sudan's National Islamic
Front (NIF) government for what they say is "genocidal"
repression against the South thought victory was theirs at last.
Not only had the NIF hosted the prime suspect, Osama bin Laden,
from 1991 to 1996, but the State Department only last April, in
its annual report on terrorism, said Khartoum was still being
"used as a safe haven of various groups, including associates of
Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization."
"Sudan must be seen as an essential piece of the (terrorism)
puzzle," said Nina Shea, a member of the quasi-governmental U.S.
Commission on International Religious Freedom shortly after
Citing Bush's pledge to "make no distinction between the
terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbored them,"
Shea said the NIF fit the latter target to a tee.
It now appears, however, that the activists' calculation was
wrong, and that, in the brutal logic of the new antiterrorist
Realpolitik, Sudan may yet absolve itself in Washington's eyes by
being among the first and the most enthusiastic of countries
enlisting in Bush's new crusade.
Senior U.S. officials have said Khartoum has "opened their files"
to U.S. intelligence agencies and appear prepared to hand over at
least two or three of some 26 people in whom Washington is
"If you take the 11th of September as the beginning of the new
world order, they've signaled they want to be on the right side,"
said one official. "They're opening the files, and, in a couple
of cases, they've give us more than we asked for."
Already, the administration, working with Republican leaders, has
acted to shelve the Sudan Peace Act, the House of Representatives
version of which would prevent foreign companies with investments
in Sudan's energy sector from selling stock on U.S. exchanges,
indefinitely. Congressional aides believe the Act, which passed
the Senate in a less stringent form, is probably dead for the
Some analysts believe the administration may go much further. "I
wouldn't be surprised if they started relaxing sanctions imposed
by the Clinton administration," said one congressional aide.
"They're very enthusiastic about the kind of offers they're
getting from Khartoum."
Anti-NIF activists--spanning the Christian Right, black churches,
the Congressional Black Caucus, labor unions, and major human
rights groups--have been stunned by the sudden turn of events....
Yet it may be an early signal of what Bush's war on terrorism may
mean, at least for much of the Islamic world: the subordination
of human and minority rights, among many other issues which
nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) have spent years lobbying
for, to the war against terrorism. ...
A new factor in the war [in Sudan] has emerged in the last two
years as foreign companies have begun pumping oil from the south.
These operations are currently earning the NIF some 500 million
dollars a year, much of which has been devoted to the acquisition
of new weapons, including helicopter gunships, which have
reportedly been used to pursue what human rights groups have
called "scorched-earth" tactics against local populations living
or near drilling and exploration sites.
A construction company owned by Bin Laden built the main road
used by the military and foreign oil companies to extend their
reach southward, according to published reports.
The Clinton administration imposed tough economic sanctions
against Sudan when it listed Khartoum as a state sponsor of
terrorism for the first time in 1993. In 1995, it accused
Khartoum of involvement in the attempted assassination of
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa and cosponsored a
UN resolution that imposed additional diplomatic sanctions.
Largely as a result of U.S. pressure, Bin Laden left Sudan for
Afghanistan in 1996 but, after the U.S. embassy bombings in
Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998, Washington fired cruise
missiles at a pharmaceutical plant in which bin Laden allegedly
had an interest. Washington charged that it was being used to
produce chemical weapons.
Since the Bush administration took power last January, its
rhetoric against Khartoum has been harsh. ...
While the rhetoric has been tough, the actual policy has followed
some of the recommendations made by a task force put together by
the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) last
February. In contrast to recommendations from activists to impose
additional sanctions on the NIF, it urged Bush to work closely
with European countries, which have pursued a policy of
engagement with Khartoum, in the interests of ending the war as
soon as possible.
At the same time, the administration vowed to strongly oppose the
capital market sanctions in the Sudan Peace Act, which was
approved virtually unanimously by the House last June. These
included a ban on foreign oil companies being listed on U.S.
stock exchanges and a requirement that all companies disclose any
business interests they have in Sudan with the Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC). The latter provision was included in
the Senate version of the bill. ...
As the coalition, bolstered by addition of the AFL-CIO, mobilized
its forces behind the capital market sanctions in advance of the
convening in early September of a conference committee to work
out the differences between the House and Senate versions, the
administration took new steps to reassure the anti-Khartoum
forces that it was on their side.
At a White House Rose Garden ceremony September 6, Bush, who once
again harshly denounced the NIF, named former Republican Senator
and ordained Episcopalian minister John Danforth as his special
envoy to help negotiate peace in Sudan and "get this issue solved
once and for all."
At the same time, however, the administration quietly agreed to
Egypt's request to lift the UN sanctions against Sudan.
Washington, which had sent Central Intelligence Agency and
Federal Bureau of Investigation personnel into Sudan to test
Khartoum's willingness to cooperate on terrorism since last
summer, decided to abstain when the Security Council was to have
taken up the matter September 14.
Five days after the Rose Garden ceremony, the hijacked commercial
jetliners hit the World Trade Center towers in New York City and
the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.
Sudan immediately denounced the attacks and promised to open its
files to the CIA-FBI team, according to senior officials. "They
immediately started shouting down all the rat holes that they had
nothing to do with it," said one. "So we decided to push harder
on an open door."
U.S. and Sudanese diplomats quickly reached a "gentleman's
agreement" to put off indefinitely the vote on lifting the UN
sanctions "until the dust settles," according to knowledgeable
sources. Washington's bilateral sanctions remain in effect, but
Congressional analysts believe these also may be eased soon, as
Khartoum provides more intelligence and possible logistic support
for Washington in its new war. Meanwhile, the war in the south
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