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Contested Elections and Displacement by the Nuer Militias, 1996-98 The National Islamic Front (NIF) de facto ruling party scheduled gubernatorial elections in all the twenty-six states of Sudan for 1997. This did not really constitute an exercise in democracy. The electorate was extremely limited: only state ministers and others appointed by the central government, in the south less than forty people in each state, were to vote. The government held elections for the ten southern states on the same day in early December 1997. Not all the elections actually took place in the territory of the southern states, because the government did not even control a garrison town in several of them, which were entirely in SPLM/A control. Nor was the nominating process democratic—even though, to the outrage of some NIF members, Riek Machar did not endorse the NIF candidates for governorship, but ran a UDSF slate in opposition in many southern states. The UDSF candidates won several governorships, including that of Western Upper Nile/Unity State.250 The alliance dating from 1991 between Paulino Matiep and Riek Machar broke down in armed clashes in September 1997, during the campaign for the governorship of Unity State. Riek Machar’s UDSF did not back Paulino Matiep’s gubernatorial candidate for Unity State, Nuer NIF member Paul Lily. Riek Machar instead backed his own relative and close advisor Taban Deng Gai.
250 See Human Rights Watch, Famine in Sudan, pp. 58-60.
At first Paulino Matiep responded to this incursion on his power by detaining five UDSF political representatives (who were also commanders) sent by Riek Machar from Khartoum to Bentiu to campaign for Taban Deng. They spent two days in jail on Paulino Matiep’s orders in September 1997, before Riek Machar ordered their release.251 Fighting erupted between the Paulino Matiep and Riek Machar forces days later when the Riek Machar group tried to free other of its members detained by Paulino Matiep.252 Civilians interviewed by relief agencies months later reported that Paulino Matiep’s forces attacked the trading center of Rupnyagai (border of Block 1), Nhialdiu (Block 5A), and three other villages on September 17, 1997, and looted and burned everything. The 1997 harvest was not completed because of the fighting.253 Cmdr. Paulino Matiep’s forces pushed the Riek Machar SSDF forces back to the Duar area (Block 5A) south of Bentiu.254 In October 1997, Cmdr. Paulino Matiep sent a delegation from Khartoum to resolve the situation.
Things stayed quiet for a few months. But when his candidate lost the December 1997 gubernatorial election, according to one observer, “Paulino declared war” on Riek Machar’s SSDF.255 Fighting started again. One news article reported that some 200 Nuer fighters were killed in pitched battles in Western Upper Nile/Unity State in January 1998.256 According to Riek Machar, however, only thirty-eight people 251 SSDF intelligence officer who was one of the detainees, Human Rights Watch interview, Wunlit, Bahr El Ghazal, March 1, 1999;
Biel Torkech Rambang, Human Rights Watch interview, Washington, D.C., March 14, 2000.
252 SSDF officer, interview, March 1, 1999; James Kuong Ninrew, Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency, Human Rights Watch interview, Nairobi, February 16, 1999.
253 Relief agency assessment in Nhialdiu, Leek district, Western Upper Nile, May 12-15, 1998, dated May 16, 1998 (anonymity requested).
254 SSDF officer, interview, March 1, 1999.
255 James Kuong, SSDF officer, Human Rights Watch interview, Nairobi, February 16, 1999.
256 “Kerubino Gives NIF a Run for Their Money while SPLA Watches,” Sudan Democratic Gazette (London), Year IX, No. 93, February 1998. The Sudan Democratic Gazette was an opposition paper published in London for several years by Bona Malwal, a veteran southern politician and minister of information during the period of southern autonomy.
died in more than a week of clashes over the governorship of Western Upper Nile/Unity State that month.257 Rather than force Paulino Matiep to accept the results of the “election” and rein him in, the government seized on this rivalry for control of Unity State to stoke the fires of ethnic fighting among the Nuer.
Sometime before 1998, the government promoted Paulino Matiep to the rank of major general in the Sudanese government army.258 Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep announced the formation of his South Sudan Unity Movement/Army (SSUM/A), based in Mankien, in March 1998. He built up his forces with government resources, including weapons and ammunition, and recruitment (forced and voluntary) of Bul Nuer boys and men from his own area. Paulino Matiep had training centers for new recruits in Nhialdiu and Koch. His troops numbered perhaps as many as 10,000.259 Since both Paulino Matiep and Riek Machar factions were southern, indeed both Nuer but of different ethnic groups, the government—having exacerbated the situation—publicly characterized the fighting as “tribal clashes,” remote from the central government and not controllable by it. The government promoted the myth of the “ungovernable south” sure to plunge into anarchy that would end in a “Rwanda” scenario—without steady oversight from Khartoum.260 By selectively arming ethnic factions— providing arms and ammunition to a Nuer government militia to fight another Nuer government-armed faction—the government’s actions were actually making that scenario more, not less, likely.
Riek Machar appealed in writing to President El Bashir several times in 1998 and 1999 to stop arming Paulino Matiep, who was making war on Machar’s forces. Riek Machar even appealed to international 257 “38 Reported Dead in Fighting Between Sudan Forces,” Reuters, Khartoum, January 19, 1998.
258 The Sudan Democratic Gazette noted this promotion in 1996.
259 Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep was reportedly given 2,000 AK 47 rifles by the government of Sudan and nine 12.7mm AAAs (heavy machine guns) in 1998. The next year the government gave this militia 3,000 AK 47s, along with sixty PKMs (machine guns) and ammunition for them. Thomas Duoth, interview, July 22, 1999.
260 State Minister of Foreign Affairs Ghazi Salah Eldin Atabani, Human Rights Watch interview, Khartoum, May 4, 1995.
oil company executives to pressure the government to remove Paulino Matiep, whom Rick Machar described as “our problem.”261 261 Riek Machar, interview, Nairobi, August 8, 2000.
Overview The situation in the oil concession area known as Block 5A is quite similar to the situation in the GNPOC concession, Blocks 1, 2, and 4, in that they are both oil-rich areas of Western Upper Nile/Unity State and the government has displaced civilians from them to clear the way for foreign oil operations. However, the oil companies investing in the two concessions are different, with one exception, Petronas. The time frame has been different, too. No oil-related forcible civilian population displacement took place in Block 5A until about 1998, when the new consortium led by the Swedish company Lundin started oil exploration there. Indeed, no war-related displacement at all took place there until 1998, according to relief agencies operating out of Ler for a decade.262 Unlike its counterpart in Blocks 1, 2, and 4, Lundin’s security team at first worked with the local government officials who were Riek Machar loyalists. Lundin hired persons this local government recommended, including some police as security guards for its operations.
In 1998, Paulino Matiep’s government-supported militia attacked towns and villages in Block 5A, weakening the position of Riek Machar. Riek Machar’s SSDF, although also government-backed, was kept short of arms and supplies by the government and did not have adequate means to defend against the Paulino Matiep attacks. The latter’s forces looted most larger villages and towns and burned down the main structures, including clinics run by NGOs. Residents, unused to any fighting in their area, fled 262 Distant from the oil explorations in Block 5A, intermittent but deadly civilian fighting over cattle occurred between the Nuer and the Dinka on their Western Upper Nile/Bahr El Ghazal border after 1991. See Jok and Hutchinson, above.
to the toic during the wet season to wait out the fighting; many died of malaria there. Most returned home at the beginning of the dry season to salvage what they could and prepare for planting.
Lundin (IPC) Enters the Scene, 1996 Chevron had explored in Block 5A. The Nuer of Block 5A naturally were aware of its activities there.
According to one Nuer chief, the company discovered oil in Bang (also known as Darchiem Chuol), four hours northwest of Koch, in 1982.263 But shortly after the February 1984 rebel killing of three expatriate oil workers, the oil exploration activity ceased.
On February 6, 1997, the International Petroleum Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lundin Oil AB, signed an exploration and production-sharing agreement with the Sudanese government, granting IPC (Lundin) rights to Block 5A, adjacent to and south of Unity oilfield in Block 1.264 IPC, the operating or lead partner, held 40.375 percent of the Block 5A partnership. Petronas Carigali Overseas Sdn Bhd, owned by the Malaysian state oil company, held 28.5 percent; OMV (Sudan) Exploration GmbH, owned by OMV AG, one of the largest companies in Austria, held 26.125 percent; and Sudapet Limited, owned by the Sudanese government, held 5 percent.265 Lundin (IPC) also owned 10 percent of Arakis’ stock until Arakis was acquired by Talisman in October 1998.
In May 1998, IPC, a Canadian corporation, was folded into its parent, Lundin Oil AB,266 a Swedish corporation owned by a “well-known name in the oil business, the Geneva-based oil and minerals 263 Chevron also discovered oil among other places in Adok, a port on the Nile, south of Bentiu; in areas south of Adok and north of Nyal; in Marol, in the Sudd one hour on foot southeast of Ler; and in Makuir, south of Ler and east of Adok. Gideon Bading Jagei, head chief of an Adok section, Human Rights Watch interview, Nyal, Western Upper Nile, August 20, 1999. Most of these were in Dok Nuer areas. Bang is in Leek Nuer and Nyal in Nyuong Nuer territory.
264 In Sudan, Lundin Oil AB initially used its wholly owned subsidiary, the International Petroleum Company (IPC), and then used its wholly owned subsidiary IPC Sudan Ltd. Later its successor company used the name Lundin Sudan.
265 Lundin Oil press release, “Lundin Oil Spuds First Well in Sudan,” Business Wire (Vancouver), April 8, 1999.
266 After the Canadian NGOs began pressing the Canadian government to act on Arakis, IPC (then listed on the Vancouver Stock Exchange (VSE) of Canada) merged with Sands Petroleum AB of Sweden. Sands, the surviving corporation, was not listed on the
investor Adolph Lundin and his family.”267 In 2002 a corporate asset shuffle with Talisman occurred, but the Sudan assets of Lundin remained in the control of and under the same family management as before 2002.268 The Significance of the GNPOC Pipeline The development of Block 5A was related to the approaching completion of the oil pipeline facilities nearby in GNPOC’s concession.269 Without the pipeline, the oilfields in Block 5A would have remained as Chevron left them, undeveloped, attracting little military attention. This was an area the government had long ago conceded to the rebels as of no strategic interest and having a particularly difficult, swampy environment; but with the GNPOC pipeline only a short distance away, it became economically feasible to develop oil there. Block 5A shot up in strategic importance and became a military priority for the government.
VSE. Both were controlled by the Lundin family, and the company was renamed Lundin Oil AB in May 1998. With its head office in Geneva, it was listed on the U.S.-based NASDAQ and the Stockholm Stock Exchange until the reshuffle with Talisman in June 2001, below. Adolph Lundin “controls a web of small exploration companies, some of which are run by his Vancouver-based son Ian.” Mathew Ingram, “Signs of Life on Planet Arakis,” Globe and Mail (Toronto), Calgary, June 23, 1998.
267 Muriel Allen, “Sudan: Oil A Political Weapon,” July 11, 1997.
268 In June, 2001, Talisman and Lundin agreed to a corporate rearrangement whereby Talisman would buy the outstanding shares of Lundin and Lundin would spin off to a new company its Sudan and Russian assets, to be owned by the Lundin family and others.
The Sudan assets included Lundin’s interests in Blocks 5A and 5B and its 100 percent interest in the Halaib Block in northeast Sudan bordering (and contested by) Egypt. The new company, called Lundin Petroleum AB, started trading on the New Market at Stockholmsborsen but was not listed on any U.S. stock exchange. At that time proposed legislation on Sudan oil-related capital market sanctions that might apply to Lundin was pending in the U.S. Congress. Lundin Petroleum retained the same board and.management team as Lundin Oil. For simplicity, Lundin Petroleum is also referred to as Lundin. Lundin Petroleum, “Report for the period ended December 31, 2001,” http://www.Lundin-petroleum.com/Documents/qr_4_2001_e.pdf (accessed May 28, 2002);
Lundin Oil press release, “Lundin Oil Recommends Acceptance of Public Cash Offer from Talisman and Spins Off Key Exploration Assets into a New Swedish Oil Company,” Stockholm, June 21, 2001.
269 Lundin noted that the GNPOC 1,540 kilometer-long pipeline, with capacity to pump 250,000 barrels of oil per day (and an expected maximum capacity of 450,000 barrels per day with the addition of several pump stations), was completed in August 1999.
Lundin Oil, “Sudan: Operation Fact Sheet—October 2000,” www.Lundinoil.com/eng/sudan.html (accessed November 28, 2000).
139Human Rights Watch