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176 “Sudan Won=t Receive Any New IMF Loans,” Wall Street Journal (New York), February 4, 1986. In 1982, the government had received a rescue package from the IMF, World Bank, and donor governments amounting to $ 1.5 billion a year in aid and, at the time of the default, the Sudanese had an accumulated foreign debt of U.S. $ 9 billion requiring annual interest payments of U.S. $ 800 million. David B. Ottaway, “U.S. Suspends $ 194 Million In Aid to Sudan,” Washington Post, February 17, 1985; “Sudan Asks U.S. Help to Pay IMF Debt,” AP, December 29, 1985; “Sudan Asks U.S., Saudis To Pay Arrears to IMF,” Wall Street Journal (New York), Khartoum, December 30, 1985; James R. Peipert, “Sudan Near Agreement with International Monetary Fund,” AP, January 25, 1986. The U.S. did assist Sudan by asking the IMF to help reschedule the debt several times. D. H. Johnson, email, April 30, 2001.
177 David B. Ottaway, “U.S. Suspends $ 194 Million in Aid to Sudan,” Washington Post, February 17, 1985; Charles T. Powers, “Washington Pushes for Reform; Debt, Drought, and Chaos Plague U.S. Ally Sudan,” Los Angeles Times, February 28, 1985. In 1990, the IMF issued a declaration of noncooperation against Sudan, which remained in place until 1999. The IMF suspended Sudan’s voting and related rights in 1993 and did not reinstate them until 2000, after the government had made certain reforms and paid some IMF debt, and oil production and export had begun. IMF, “IMF Lifts Declaration of Noncooperation from Sudan,” News Brief No. 99/52, Washington, D.C., August 31, 1999; IMF, “IMF Lifts Suspension of Sudan’s Voting and Related Rights,” Press
110Oil in Southern Sudan
Overthrow of President Nimeiri, Chevron Pulls Out, 1985 Faced with severe economic pressures and internal conflict, the government of President Nimeiri was ousted in an armed forces coup led by Defence Minister Gen. Abdul-Rahman Suwar Dahab on April 6, 1985, after intense pressure was brought on the Nimeiri government by widespread popular protests and peaceful street demonstrations.
Following Nimeiri’s overthrow, the SPLM/A announced it would continue to block Chevron’s operations because it remained at war with the new government. SPLM/A leaders said the U.S.
government could hasten the resumption of oil operations by supplying the SPLA with arms and equipment.178 Chevron’s relationship with the interim military government deteriorated. On June 11, 1985, the government warned the company against using Israeli-made goods for its Sudanese oil operations because this violated the Arab embargo on Israel.179 On October 25, Sudanese authorities accused Fred Daniel Clement, an operations manager for the Parker Drilling Company, a Chevron subcontractor in Sudan, of “intercepting [radio] communications” from the office of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Khartoum. Clement was detained and released two days later.180 On December 24, 1985, Release No. 00/46, Washington, D.C., August 1, 2000. Sudan’s problems with the IMF coincided with its failure to develop its oil resources. See, e.g., IMF, “Sudan: Recent Economic Developments,” Staff Country Report No. 99/53, Washington, D.C., June 1999.
178 Blaine Harden, “Rebel Chief Coming for Talks, Sudan Says Leader’s Aides Deny It, Say War Is On,” Washington Post, April 19, 1985.
179 “Sudan Warns Chevron over Israeli Goods,” San Francisco Chronicle, June 12, 1985. Chevron responded that the import of Israeli parts had been unintentional and the parts would be sent back to England.
180 Apparently, en route to his office, Clement stopped his car in front of the PLO office to listen to a company message on his car radio, commonly used for communications within Sudan. This was mistakenly seen as a surveillance operation. “Sudanese Detain, Release American,” San Diego Union-Tribune, October 28, 1985.
Chevron announced the suspension of its operations in the Bentiu region because of a need to reassess the “commercial viability” of the project.181 Chevron did not suspend its operations in El Muglad until later. But the company never returned to develop the oilfields of southern Sudan, and it sold out its rights to the entire Sudanese concession in 1992.
Civil War and Political Developments Elections 1986, Military Coup 1989 The military junta ruled for one year, and stepped down after elections were held in May 1986. Two large pre-existing political parties then dominated the political scene: the Umma Party and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), each based on traditional Sudanese Islamic sects, the Ansar and Khatmiyya, respectively.182 These parties and several smaller ones juggled offices as they formed and unformed alliances until an Islamist-military coup on June 30, 1989, installed Lt. Gen. Omar El Bashir as president.
El Bashir remains in power as of the time of this writing. The National Islamic Front (NIF), an Islamist political movement, was the party behind the coup and had participated in past governments as a minority party. It is still in power and has changed its name to the National Congress (NC).183
SPLA Control of Western Upper Nile
181 “Chevron to Suspend Exploration in Sudan,” Dow Jones News Service (New York), December 24, 1985.
182 The Umma Party continues to draw most of its support from the Ansar (Sufi) religious brotherhood in Omdurman and western Sudan, and the DUP most of its support from Khatmiyya (Sufi) brotherhood in the central Nile valley and eastern Sudan.
183 An internal power struggle led to the formation of a breakaway party, the Popular National Congress Party, in June 2000.
Mohamed Osman, “Sudan Islam Leader Forms New Party,” AP, Khartoum, June 27, 2000.
112Oil in Southern Sudan
The SPLA came from Ethiopia to Western Upper Nile in force in late 1984-early 1985, with its two (newly-formed and –trained) battalions, the Timsa (Crocodile) and the Tiger.184 Following a March 1985 battle between the SPLA/Anyanya II and Baggara raiders at Thargana near Mayom, in which the Baggara were driven from Nuer areas, a relative peace ensued between the Baggara and Nuer. The SPLA/Anyanya II defeat of the Baggara was led by then SPLA Maj. Bul Nyawan, also responsible for the decisive February 1984 Anyanya attack on Chevron facilities.185 By 1986, the SPLM/A dominated most of Western Upper Nile—except for the government garrison towns, some oilfields north of Bentiu, and the Bul Nuer area, which was loyal to local Anyanya II commander Paulino Matiep, a Bul Nuer. The SPLA captured Ler in Dok Nuer territory in March 1986.
Cmdr. Riek Machar recalled with enthusiasm a scouting mission the SPLA made into the Heglig oilfield area in 1987, which demonstrated that the SPLA could reach the Heglig oilfields without detection.186 While the SPLA remained in control of some oilfield areas in Blocks 1 and 2, some displaced Nuer and Dinka began to return to those areas and rebuild their homes. These areas, however, were very remote and received little attention from the outside world.
By 1988, most of Anyanya II was brought into the SPLM/A through negotiations. This was the high point of southern unity, which lasted until 1991. Only Paulino Matiep and his Bul Nuer forces—and 184 The Timsa Battalion was commanded by former Sudanese army officer Arok Thon Arok (deceased 1998), and the Tiger Battalion by Salva Kiir Mayardit, now chief of staff of the SPLA.. See, e.g., James Kok, interviews, March 15, 17, 2001; Biel Torkech Rambang, interview, March 6, 2001.
185 While they were still in Anyanya II in the early 1980s, Maj. Bul Nyawan and his deputy, Cmdr. James Lial Dieu, tried to fend off the Baggara. Bul Nyawan joined the SPLM/A after it arrived in Western Upper Nile. Both sides, the SPLA and the Baggara muraheleen, sustained heavy losses in the March 1985 battle but subsequently the Baggara enterred into a peace agreement with Riek Machar, SPLA zonal commander. Bul Nyawan, who is fondly remembered by the Nuer, was killed in that battle. Biel Torkech Rambang, interview, March 6, 2001; James Kok, interviews, March 15, 17, 2001; RASS officer and former school administrator, interview, August 1-2, 2000.
186 Riek Machar, former SPLA zonal commander of Western Upper Nile, Human Rights Watch interview, Nairobi, August 8, 2000.
He said his forces, after walking several days, were exhausted when they reached Heglig and withdrew in the face of the fresh government troops based at the oilfield.
militia of smaller ethnic groups such as the Mandari, Murle, and Toposa—remained on the side of the government When Chevron dismantled some of its rigs in Unity field in 1988, shipping them to Heglig and then on
to El Muglad further north, the SPLM/A considered that they had pushed Chevron out of the south:
“The SPLA established a firm liberated area and we visited often, searching for the [government] army.
The oilfield work was stopped. We stopped them,” asserted one SPLA combatant.187 Another said, “We fought the enemy in Heglig... The objective there: the enemy came and took the petrol. We chased them away. The purpose was protection.”188 From a position of strength, with most of the Anyanya II militia in the SPLA, the SPLM/A entered into serious peace negotiations with the government in 1988. A settlement became a distinct possibility, until the 1989 Islamist-military coup, which prevented any peace agreement from being concluded.
Government Use of Paulino Matiep’s Nuer Militia In the face of SPLM/A successes, the new government honed its preferred strategy of divide and displace/destroy—successfully employed through the Baggara—to regain access to some of the oilfields, and thereby to generate oil revenues to salvage its economy. The government used Nuer commander Paulino Matiep, to whom it referred as a “friend” of the army, as its primary surrogate force to keep to a minimum the presence of the SPLA in Blocks 1, 2, and 4.
Cmdr. Paulino Matiep, then leader of the Anyanya II (government-aligned) forces, had never joined the SPLM/A. His role was to become ever more important in the years that followed. He was strategically placed, in Bul Nuer territory including Mayom and Mankien, to provide a buffer against SPLA incursions into the oilfields from the Dinka and SPLM/A stronghold in Bahr El Ghazal.
187 Elijah Hon Top, interview, July 26, 1999.
188 Former soldier under Tito Biel, Human Rights Watch interview, Kenya, August 21, 1999.
In return for Cmdr. Paulino Matiep’s service as an oilfield guard, the Sudanese government provided substantial material benefits to him and his forces. Partisans have described the co-option of Cmdr.
Paulino Matiep as an aspect of the government policy of divide, displace, and destroy:
They [Khartoum] created Paulino [Matiep]. They have a policy of interfering with the unity of large ethnic groups, especially the Nuer, who are championing independence.
To undermine this, they cause the Nuer to fight among themselves. They must recruit people like Paulino to do this. This is the strategy of the government, to get the Nuer and Dinka to break into groups and fight [among themselves].189 In September 1988, when the SPLA under Riek Machar conducted a coordinated attack on Mayom, successfully capturing the Anyanya II base, the government sent Lt. Gen. Omar El Bashir with army reinforcements to recapture Mayom from the SPLA, which he and Cmdr. Paulino Matiep succeeded in doing. A bond between the two men was forged—more significant when Bashir became president after the military coup of June 30, 1989.190 Government Army Displacement of Nuer from the Oilfields, 1990 The government army, along with the Baggara muraheleen and Paulino Matiep’s militia, served as an agent of displacement. Nuer villagers from Toryat near Bentiu said that the army drove them out of their town in May 1990 after an SPLA attack on the government army garrison in Bentiu.191 Shortly thereafter, 189 Taban Deng, interview, July 26, 1999.
190 Paulino Matiep allegedly saved Omar El Bashir’s life on at least one occasion. During a traditional Nuer celebration in 1989, Lieutenant General Bashir (then serving in Mayom) reportedly joined in firing his gun into the air and accidentally shot dead a young Nuer woman. Her relatives were ready to kill him when Cmdr. Paulino Matiep intervened, paying cows to the family in compensation. President Sadiq al Mahdi accused Lieutenant General Bashir of killing the girl. RASS officer and former school administrator, interview, August 1-2, 2000. There are several similar versions of this episode.
191 Deborah Scroggins, “Sudan: Waiting for Majaa Reet Goach: Nuer Tribesman,” Atlanta Journal and Constitution, March 10, 1991, based on interviews in Rok-Rok, Sudan on December 5, 1990. In 1999, there were three garrisons in Bentiu: one near the civilian hospital (two battalions), one near the primary and secondary school complex (one battalion), and one at the end of the airport on
115Human Rights Watch