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The resolutions passed at the conference were ceremonially signed by the participants, including female delegates, an important gain for women’s participation in local government. In the weeks that ensued, events moved swiftly as the delegates returned home to inform their people of the agreements. Quickly, trade resumed: reportedly five to six thousand Dinka traders from the Yirol area, portering goods for sale on their heads, journeyed to Nyal and Ganyliel in Nuerland to restore trading relations. Food monitors then noted the product of that commerce: many cattle began to be sold from Western Upper Nile/Unity State through Dinkaland to Uganda later in 1999.367 365 Note that one area heavily raided by Nuer in 1996, Makuac, Tonj County, later (after the Wunlit covenant) became a place of refuge among Dinka for Nuer driven from their homes in the oilfields by the government forces. Isaac Magok and Lino Madut, Human Rights Watch interview, Paliang, Tonj County, Bahr El Ghazal, August 1999.
366 The bridewealth was traditionally paid in cattle by the family of the bridegroom to the family of the bride in installments not completed until after the birth of at least the first child. D. H. Johnson, email, April 30, 2001. By abduction, soldiers married without waiting until they had enough cattle to afford the bridewealth. At times they abducted women they already hoped to marry, but at the cost of enraging the wife’s family members, who did not receive any cattle, not to mention violating the woman’s rights.
367 April to June was the time when livestock were typically put on the market for sale, but the two major cattle trading centers for Western Upper Nile/Unity State, at Zeraf Island and Mayom, had been cut off to many Nuer on account of hostilities since May
1999. Nuer displaced by the fighting were also under financial pressure to sell even more cattle (when they still had them) than usual. As a result, the Dinka of Yirol, known as the main cattle traders from Twic County to Bor to Ganyliel, bought the Nuer cattle and resold them into Uganda. William Fielding, WFP consultant, Human Rights Watch interview, Lokichokkio, Kenya, August 16, 1999.
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Following Wunlit, pastures were formally consecrated for joint use, and Nuer and Dinka cattle were put to graze together. Many people returned temporarily to their abandoned villages well ahead of supplies needed to rebuild them. Planting would start with the rains in May, only two months after Wunlit ended, if the returnees had the seeds.
As promised, the NSCC in September 1999 held a follow-up conference to create a civilian governance structure that would make sure that the commitments of Wunlit were put into practice. Those attending that conference had been chosen by their communities to represent them, instead of being appointed from higher up; there, too, women took part, with the requirement that one of the three delegates from each county be a woman.
A watershed for southerners, the Wunlit conference ended some of the south-south fighting which had destroyed hundreds of villages and killed perhaps thousands of civilians from 1991 to 1999.368 It gave many southerners hope that there was a way to surmount the conflict that had cost them so dearly.
368 See Human Rights Watch, Civilian Devastation.
OIL SUCCESSES FOR GOVERNMENT DESPITE REBEL MILITARY OPPOSITION:
TALISMAN STEPS IN, 1998-99 Overview In mid-1998, while the militia of Maj. Gen. Paulino Matiep was burning Duar, Koch, Boaw, and Ler villages and looting relief organizations in the oilfields of Block 5A, Talisman, the largest independent Canadian oil and gas exploration and production company, investigated the adjacent GNPOC concession and decided to invest. The deal by which Talisman bought out Arakis was completed in October 1998.
To the Sudanese government, it must have seemed in 1999 that its luck was finally changing. The pipeline was completed on schedule and inaugurated in May 1999, with great fanfare. An oil refinery for local use of Sudan’s crude oil was completed near Khartoum, and inaugurated on the tenth anniversary of the NIF’s coming to power, June 30, 1999. The first export of crude oil from Sudan took place on August 30, 1999, almost the same day the IMF lifted its nine-year suspension of Sudan.
Then the world price of crude oil began to rise, and rise, until it more than doubled, as Talisman continued to locate and drill new wells in its concession, generating even more government revenue.
Yet there were still some discordant notes. The first incident of pipeline sabotage occurred two weeks after the first export of oil. More importantly, in early 1999 the dispute—between the Sudanese government and its ministry of defense, and Riek Machar and his ex-rebel SSDF—over who would guard the Block 5A oilfields being explored by Lundin came to a head. Riek Machar opposed any army presence, insisting that Block 5A was in territory he brought to the government in 1997 under the Khartoum Peace Agreement and that his forces would and could protect Lundin’s concession. He did not want a repeat of the situation in GNPOC areas, where his forces, military and political, were not allowed even a minor role, despite the peace agreement.
locally-based militias, armed by the government to “protect” their areas from the SPLA, was not limited to Paulino Matiep’s forces. Various militias, including from the Dinka, Murle, Toposa, and Mandari, had been directly armed as well, most under illiterate commanders. Many were reactive to early SPLA human rights abuses of their civilian population although they also committed serious abuses.
Since the government of Sudan had already seen some southern militias redefect to the SPLM/A, most spectacularly the Dinka commander, Kerubino Kwanyin Bol in January 1998,369 it put greater faith in the army, reportedly dominated by northern officers, and non-southern militias, such as the Baggara muraheleen and the Popular Defence Force (PDF)—an Islamist force also called mujahedeen (holy warriors).
Talisman Becomes New Lead Partner for Blocks 1, 2, and 4, Mid-1998 Although Arakis had been in Sudan since 1992, by mid-1998 it had relatively little to show for it. The Sudanese oil industry remained in rudimentary form, producing limited amounts for local consumption.
The country still imported most of its petroleum needs. A government-controlled newspaper, Al Anbaa, said that Heglig oil wells produced 2.5 million barrels of oil in one year, from June 1997 to July 1998— only 6,849 barrels per day (b/d).370 Another oilfield near Heglig, Abu Jebra, came on stream in December 1992 and up until July 1998 produced 471,629 barrels of oil in total, an average of 173 b/d. After Talisman arrived, the 2000 production from the GNPOC concession soared to 200,000 b/d.371 369 The government had tolerated Cmdr. Kerubino Kwanyin Bol’s previous unpredictability (holding relief staff hostage) because he conducted a scorched earth campaign against his own Dinka kin from the garrison town of Gogrial, Bahr El Ghazal. He committed so many abuses that relief officials considered him a particularly outstanding cause of hunger and instability in the area. See Human Rights Watch, Famine in Sudan, pp. 46-48; 130-34.
370 The oilfield in Adarail/AdarYal in Block 3 on the Ethiopian border east of Melut produced some 169,347 barrels. “Sudan Produced Three Mln Barrels of Oil—Paper,” Reuters, Khartoum, November 18, 1998. Block 3 is not covered in this report, but is covered in the report by Christian Aid, The scorched earth: Oil and war in Sudan (London: March 2001).
371 Talisman Energy, “Sudan: Results for 2000,” http://www.Talisman-energy.com/operating/sudan.html (accessed May 21, 2001).
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In mid-1998, the British Columbia Securities Commission had reprimanded and fined the former chief executive officer of Arakis, James Terrence Alexander, and fined Arakis as well, for breaches of regulatory norms in 1995372 and the company was unable to raise the U.S. $ 250 million required for its share of the Sudan venture. It suffered from a poor cash flow, low per share prices, and the threat of a takeover by a rival, Lundin, which had acquired a 10.8 percent share of Arakis.373 On July 16, 1998, Arakis threw in the towel and announced that it planned to put itself up for sale.374 A month later, on August 17, 1998, Canada’s largest independent oil and gas producer, Talisman Energy Incorporated, announced that it would acquire Arakis and Arakis’ main asset, the Sudan project.375 One analyst suggested that among Talisman’s considerations may have been that it had no gas stations vulnerable to boycotts and therefore could “afford to go where better-known oil companies dare not invest because of the risk of bad publicity.” In addition, it faced no competition from U.S. companies due to the United States embargo on U.S. companies doing business with Sudan.376 Three days after the takeover announcement, on August 20, 1998, the U.S. government launched cruise missile attacks against locations in Khartoum, Sudan and Afghanistan.377 Persons at those locations were believed to have assisted or been associated with those who had bombed the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on August 7, 1998, killing several hundred people, mostly Kenyan 372 BCSC, “In the Matter of the Securities Act (R.S.B.C.) 1996, c. 418, and In the Matter of Arakis Energy Corporation,” Agreed Statement of Facts and Undertaking, May 12, 1998.
373 See “Sudan Deal Signed by Arakis, Government, and Partners,” Platt’s Oilgram News (New York), March 4, 1997; Matthew Ingram, “Signs of Life on Planet Arakis,” The Globe and Mail(Toronto), June 23, 1998. Lundin also had agreed with the government of Ethiopia to acquire the exploration and production rights to the Gambela Block in that country, across the eastern border of Sudan, part of the Melut Basin. “Canada: Gambela Block Onshore Ethiopia,” Business Wire (Vancouver), November 14, 1991.
374 Starr Spencer, “Arakis, Unable to Raise Funds, Forced to Seek Sale,” Platt’s Oilgram News (New York), July 17, 1998.
375 Jim Buckee, Talisman Energy press release, “Talisman Agrees to Acquire Arakis,” Canada Stockwatch (Vancouver), Calgary, August 17, 1998.
376 Graham Bowley, “Talisman: Sudan Oil Project Takes Flak,” Financial Times (London), Toronto, November 19, 1999.
377 The targets in Afghanistan were said to be training camps of Al Qaeda, an Islamist armed group.
and Tanzanian nationals. The U.S. cruise missle target in Sudan was the Al Shifa pharmaceutical factory, allegedly tied to chemical weapons production and to the embassy bombers. This attack killed one and injured eleven workers present.378 Talisman announced that it was reconsidering the Arakis acquisition because of the U.S. missile strikes,379 but by the end of the month it declared that it would go ahead with the acquisition, and advanced Arakis approximately U.S. $ 22 million for the company to continue its Sudan operations pending the closing of the sale.380 It made a second advance to Arakis of approximately U.S. $ 25 million on September 18, 1998.381 On October 8, 1998, Talisman announced the completion of the Arakis acquisition (purchase of all outstanding shares of Arakis Energy).382 The purchase price was reported to be Canadian $ 277 million (equivalent to U.S. $ 180 million) in Talisman stock, which was paid to all Arakis’ shareholders, including Lundin.383 Talisman thereby acquired Arakis’ 25 percent interest in GNPOC and Blocks 1, 2, and 4, covering 12.1 million acres, and in the incomplete pipeline and port, on which construction had just started in May 1998.384 378 Letter, Human Rights Watch to U.S. President Bill Clinton, September 15, 1998.
379 Talisman’s CEO stated that the company was “actively seeking more information... [and would] let events unfold further before making decisions on future actions concerning the acquisition of Arakis.” Jim Buckee, Talisman Energy press release, “Talisman Seeks Further Information on Events in Sudan,” Canada Newswire, Calgary, August 21, 1998.
380 Jim Buckee, Talisman Energy press release, “Talisman Advances Funds to Arakis,” Canada Stockwatch (Vancouver), Calgary, August 31, 1998.
381 David Mann, Talisman Energy press release, “Talisman Advances Additional Funds to Arakis,” Canada Stockwatch (Vancouver), Calgary. September 18, 1998.
382 “Talisman Acquires Arakis Energy,” Canadian Corporate News, Calgary, October 8, 1998.
383 Chris Varcoe, “Talisman Sees Hope in Sudan; Calgary Firm Continues to Face Obstacles,” Calgary Herald, Ottawa Citizen, March 19, 1999.
384 Talisman Energy, “Background Paper,” pp. 2-3; Talisman Energy, “Company Highlights,” http://www.Talismanenergy.com/high.html (accessed July 17, 1999).
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