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A new Sudanese rebel army, the SPLM/A, was formed in 1983 in Ethiopia. The SPLM/A brought together, temporarily, the separatist remnants of the first civil war (based in Ethiopia) and many former Anyanya troops integrated into the Sudanese army battalions.111 The SPLM/A, following the lead of its Ethiopian and Soviet backers, endorsed a united, secular, socialist Sudan. In the words of its leader, Sudanese army colonel John Garang de Mabior, at the founding of the SPLM/A, [T]he anarchy in production, the separatist tendencies in the various regions of our beloved country, the moral decay and all the ills that I have enumerated can only be solved 111 These former Anyanya were stationed in the southern towns of Bor, Ayod, and Nasir and they mutinied in mid-1983 and went to Ethiopia to join the SPLM/A.
within the context of a united Sudan under a socialist system that affords democratic and human rights to all nationalities and guarantees freedom to all religions, beliefs, and outlooks.112 (italics in original) The SPLA’s first battles were within the rebel movement. The separatist faction, Anyanya II, was defeated in 1984, driven back from Ethiopia into Sudan, and started accepting arms from the government, setting a pattern for the war that has still not been broken.
To prevent further rebel threats to oil development, state and Umma party authorities started arming Baggara cattle-owning nomads, the western and northern Kordofan and Darfur neighbors of the Nuer and Dinka, with automatic weapons. These authorities were non-nomadic Baggara in many cases. The Baggara served as a proxy, a cheap and deniable counterinsurgency tool for the government. They serve the same purpose today. The Baggara were able to loot southern cattle with impunity and push the Nuer and Dinka off their land. Most Nuer and Dinka were still armed only with spears.
The removal by 1985 popular uprising of President Nimeiri’s dictatorship did not affect the war, and the elected parliamentary government that followed (1986-89) did not give priority to a peace settlement, although many negotiations were held and many preliminary agreements were entered into among various parties. In 1988, the SPLM/A and the Anyanya II, except for Bul Nuer Cmdr. Paulino Matiep of Western Upper Nile, joined forces. In 1989, an Islamist-military coup d’état led to the end of peace negotiations, just as it appeared that they might bear fruit. Unlike other military coups, this one did not hand over power to civilians after a short period. Fourteen years later, most of the same persons are still in power, through brutal repression and denial of political rights.
Another major political/military shift occurred in May 1991: the SPLM/A’s main backer, Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Miriam, was overthrown. At least one hundred thousand southern Sudanese refugees fled Ethiopia, with the SPLM/A, and returned to Sudan. A few months later, in August 1991, Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon, SPLA zonal commander of Western Upper Nile, and others led an 112 Speech, John Garang, March 3,1984, as reproduced in John Garang Speaks, ed. Mansour Khalid (New York: KPI, 1987), p.23.
attempted coup against the SPLM/A leader John Garang. When it failed, he formed his own rebel secessionist group, claiming Western Upper Nile and the rest of the Nuer areas, basically most of the oilfields of southern Sudan. Although Riek Machar’s group had a separatist agenda, it secretly allied with the Sudanese government, which supplied it with arms and other material. It fought and defended itself against the SPLA, not the government. A major south-south war was added to the conflict.
Chevron sold out in 1992 as the Sudanese government began to look for a way out of its serious economic decline: in 1990 the government, defaulting in debt service payments on the staggering debt incurred by President Nimeiri, was suspended by the IMF, a blow to its ability to borrow money. 113 The Islamist-military government, desperate for oil revenues, had none because the oilfields were mostly in rebel-controlled areas.
Chevron Oil Concessions 114 In 1974, two years after the 1972 Addis Ababa peace accord that ended the first civil war, President Ja’afar Nimeiri’s government granted the Chevron Oil Company (American in origin) large oil concessions in Sudan.115 The company explored for oil unsuccessfully where the government directed, in areas outside southern Sudan. One source reports that oil exploration in southern Sudan initially came about through the intervention of then U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. (later U.S. President) George H.
113 The International Monetary Fund (IMF), an international organization with 182 member countries, was established in 1946 to promote international monetary cooperation, exchange stability, and orderly exchange arrangements; to foster economic growth and high levels of employment; and to provide temporary financial assistance to countries under adequate safeguards to help ease balance of payments adjustment. Its operations involve surveillance as well as financial and technical assistance. See http://www.imf.org/external/about.htm. (accessed June 19, 2001) 114 The history of Sudanese oil development is discussed in J. Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins, Revolutionary Sudan: Hasan AlTurabi and the Islamist State, 1989-2000 (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2003).
115 The company is now known as Chevron Corporation. According to its 2000 annual report, it is “one of the world’s largest integrated petroleum companies... involved in every aspect of the industry, from exploration and production to transportation, refining and retail marketing, as well as chemicals manufacturing and sales. It is active in more than 90 countries and employs about 34,000 people worldwide.” Chevron Annual Report, http://www.chevron.com (accessed April 24, 2001). In Africa it is active in Angola and Chad, among other places.
Bush, who alerted the government of Sudan to satellite imaging maps that indicated the presence of oil in the south. George H. Bush also played a role in getting U.S. companies involved in Sudan.116 According to Abel Alier, a prominent figure in the southern regional administration, southerners had to struggle for oil exploration in the south: “we... succeeded against all odds in 1974 to get the first oil company (Chevron) to the South for exploration.”117 Chevron discovered the two major oil basins, Muglad and Melut, and then in 1978 the oilfield in the Muglad Basin near Bentiu, which the Nimeiri government named al Wihda or “Unity.” It was located in Block 1, inside Upper Nile province, part of the Southern Region. Soon after, Chevron discovered the Heglig field to the northwest.118 The central government and the Southern Kordofan authorities used the Arabic name Igligi for this oilfield and area in Block 2, using an Arabic name to denote Arab control.119 The Shell (Sudan) Development Company Limited120 subsequently took a 25 percent interest in Chevron’s large project. Together, the companies spent about U.S. $ 1 billion in extensive seismic testing and the drilling of fifty-two wells.121 Southern Fears about Oil Development 116 Mansour Khalid, Nimeiri and the Revolution of Dis-may (London and Boston: KPI, 1985), p. 306.
117 Alier, Southern Sudan, p. 198. See also Muriel Allen, “Sudan: Oil a Political Weapon in Southern Sudanese Politics,” Middle East Times (London), July 11, 1997.
118 Alier, Southern Sudan, p. 240. According a former governor of Unity State, “Heglig point” was twenty-four kilometers inside the state. Taban Deng Gai, former governor of Unity State, Human Rights Watch interview, Khartoum, July 26, 1999.
119 The balanite tree was known by Dinka and Nuer names, Aling and Pan Thou, respectively. Ibid.
120 The name used in that era was supplied by Eoin S.C. Mekie, Finance Manager, Shell Company of the Sudan Ltd.. Email, Egbert Wesselink to Human Rights Watch, May 2, 2001. The Shell Company of The Sudan, Ltd., the name in use in 2001, is a subsidiary of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of companies. “Shell in Sudan,” http://www.shell.com (accessed April 24, 2001).
121 Talisman Energy, “Sudan—The Greater Nile Oil Project: Background Paper,” December 1998, p. 4.
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The Addis Ababa agreement of 1972 that ended the first civil war provided qualified rights for the autonomous southern regional government to receive revenues accruing from mineral and other natural resources in the south; at the time of the agreement in 1972, no one was aware of oil deposits in the south.122 After the discovery of oil in 1978, southerners feared that the government, always dominated by the northern elite, would deny the south jobs, a refinery in the south, a pipeline through the south, and any share of the revenues from oil. In 1978, southern urban residents took to the streets to condemn the government’s decision to export Bentiu crude oil through Port Sudan; the protestors wanted export through the south to the Kenyan port of Mombasa.123 Following the discovery of uranium at Hofrat en-Nahas in Bahr El Ghazal in 1961, the government had redrawn the western Bahr El Ghazal/Darfur border to give these mineral deposits to the northern state of Darfur. Although the Addis Ababa agreement (1972) provided that this territory should be returned to Bahr El Ghazal, it never was. Many pointed to this annexation of mineral resources to the north by the central government as a precedent for what would happen in the oilfields.124 Several government actions deepened that fear. In 1980 President Nimeiri, the same president who had signed the autonomy agreement in 1972, made an effort through the national assembly to redraw the Upper Nile border to include the Heglig and Unity oilfields in the province of Kordofan (i.e., outside the 122
Alier, Southern Sudan, p. 244. See The Southern Sudan: The Problem of National Integrations, ed. Dunstan M. Wai (London:
Frank Cass, 1973), pp. 227, 229, 231.
123 Alier, Southern Sudan, pp. 200, 238.
124 Alier, Southern Sudan, pp. 239-40. In 2000, the government sold gold and copper concessions in Hofrat en Nahas in southwestern Sudan (now in Southern Darfur State) to a firm in the United Arab Emirates, provoking a strong condemnation from the SPLM/A. Samson L. Kwaje, SPLM/SPLA press release, “SPLM/SPLA Strongly Opposes Annexation Of Hufrat Al-Nahas [sic] To Southern Darfur State,” Nairobi, April 20, 2000; “Sudan Grants Gold, Copper Concession to UAE Firm,” Reuters, Khartoum, April 18, 2000.
south). He dropped the plan due to vehement opposition from southerners, both in the national assembly and in street demonstrations.125 Chevron and the government proposed a package of development projects following the protests over the redrawing of the Upper Nile border and the location of the refinery. There were five items: the government and Chevron would upgrade the Kosti-Renk-Malakal road to an all-weather road; Chevron would support improvement of health, drinking water, and educational services in Bentiu Area Council;
a development authority for that Council would be created with a starting fund of one million Sudanese pounds; a topping plant would be established to produce refined products for areas near the oilfields;
and Chevron would provide special barges to transport refined products from the Kosti refinery to Juba and intermediate towns. Neither the government nor Chevron lived up to these agreements.126 Resumption of Civil War In May 1983, contrary to the Addis Ababa agreement that had ended the southern separatist war by setting up an autonomous Southern Region, President Nimeiri split the Southern Region into three and revoked its autonomous powers.127 His dissolution of the southern government, passage of shari’a laws in September 1983, and the short-shifting of the south in his handling of economic resources particularly the oil, were prominent among reasons for renewed civil war.128 Already in 1982, some Nuer and Dinka 125 Alier, Southern Sudan, p. 239; see the insightful article published in October 1983 about the weaknesses in the Addis Ababa agreement by Nelson Kasfir, “Why the Addis Ababa Agreement No Longer Regulates the Links between the North, the National Government and the South in Sudan” (Working Manuscript, Dartmouth College, October 1983), p. 19.
126 Alier, Southern Sudan, pp. 241-42.
127 Between 1980 and 1983, President Nimeiri recombined provinces into regions. The three former provinces that made up the single Southern Region were each called regions when the Southern Region was broken up in 1983, using the former names: Bahr El Ghazal, Upper Nile, and Equatoria.
128 Nelson Kasfir, “Why the Addis Ababa Agreement... ;” Sharon E. Hutchinson, Nuer Dilemmas: Coping with Money, War, and the State (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), pp. 3-5; D. H. Johnson, The Southern Sudan, Minority Rights Group
Report No. 78 (London: MRG, 1988); D.H. Johnson, “North-South Issues,” in Sudan After Nimeiri, ed. Peter Woodward (London:
Routledge Press, 1991).
soldiers in Wangkei base had rebelled and taken their guns to Ethiopia to join the nascent separatist rebel movement called Anyanya II.129 In May 1983, the Sudanese army’s 105th Battalion, consisting mostly of ex-Anyanya southern forces and located at Bor, Upper Nile province, mutinied. They were discontented because of threats to transfer them to the north, away from their home area, and because of a salary dispute with headquarters.130 Due to political differences and miscalculations, this escalated into an attack by Sudanese army loyalists on the 105th Battalion headquarters in Bor. The rebellious105th Battalion, under the command of Sudanese army officer Maj. Kerubino Kwanyin Bol, fled to Ethiopia, where it was shortly joined by Sudanese army Col.
John Garang de Mabior.131 Later the 104th Battalion at Ayod, Upper Nile, commanded by former Anyanya officer William Nyuong Bapiny, and others in the 105th Batallion garrisons in Pibor and Pachalla, left for Ethiopia to join the struggle. 132
Formation of SPLM/A in Ethiopia, 1983