In southern Sudan, Talisman Energy’s newly announced oil exploration sites are now being “protected” by Khartoum’s bombing of innocent civilians. This vicious corporate complicity exemplifies the meaning of Talisman’s presence in Sudan.
As the Government of Sudan intensifies its brutally savage aerial bombing campaign against civilian life in southern Sudan, it is important to understand just how close some of these bombings are to Talisman Energy’s new oil exploration efforts. Some of the most recent bombings are occurring within just a few miles of the southwest border of Talisman’s Concession Block 4.
Eric Reeves [December 7, 2000]
Smith College firstname.lastname@example.org
Northampton, MA 01063
In other words, the scorched-earth warfare that has been serving as “security” for Talisman in the past for their Unity and Heglig fields (Blocks 1 and 2) is being expanded to the huge Block 4, lying to the southwest. All this is courtesy of their business partners, the National Islamic Front regime in Khartoum.
There have been numerous, very recent reports from (among others) the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, the United Nations Integrated Regional Information Network, and diocesan sources. They have revealed wide-ranging bombing attacks on Nyang and Lekakudu near the town of Yirol (Bahr el-Ghazal), Ikotos (Equatoria), and Yei, (Equatoria). But of particular significance are the reports of recent bombings in the villages of Panlit and Anyiel Abial, near Turalei.
These villages are very near the border between Bahr el-Ghazal and Upper Nile provinces. They also lie very near the southwest border of Talisman’s Block 4 Concession area. Turalei is less than 60 miles from Talisman’s recent expansion into the Kaikang area of Block 4. This is a high-risk expansion southward from Talisman’s Heglig and Unity Field operations, and the clear consequence is that the Government of Sudan is bombing these areas (Twic County) with the intent of creating civilian destruction and dispersal.
The extremely reliable UN Integrated Regional Information Network reports that on Friday, November 24, 14 bombs were dropped on Panlit missionary school. The UN news report continues: “two classrooms were demolished and most of the 700 children at the school fled into the bush in panic or returned to their villages.” (full text attached below)
This is the face of Talisman Energy’s expanding “security” procedures in their new exploration sites in southern Sudan.
The UN news report continues: “On Saturday, more bombing raids took place near Turalei, causing mass panic. People are afraid to venture towards Turalei centre, and bush shops remained shut. The Nuer inhabitants of a displaced people’s camp fled and have not returned.”
This, too, is the face of Talisman Energy in Sudan. Civilian destruction and displacement are what will serve as their “security” in further developing their oil concession areas.
A highly reliable diocesan report details further the bombing on the Panlit school bombing (many are also reported by Agence France-Presse, Nov 27): “the Nov 24 bombing raids over Panlit village began at 11:00am, at a time when the maximum number of the Panlit Missionary School’s 700 students would be attending classes. Bombers made three passes over the site, dropping a total of fourteen shrapnel, or ‘barrel’ bombs on the area, one round of which hit and destroyed two school classrooms, and sent hundreds of students fleeing for safety into the bush. Early reports from aid workers in the area indicate that many children are in a deep state of shock.” The diocesan report also indicates that the probability of casualties among the school children is high (many have not been accounted for).
An investment in Talisman Energy is an investment in these horrific “security” procedures. For make no mistake about it: Talisman is determined—and the Government of Sudan is determined—to provide “security” to the oil operations, even if the cost is measured in the lives of innocent schoolchildren.
This is the clear implication of the Agence France-Presse report (Nov 27) on these bombings:
“Before dropping four bombs on the village, many Sudanese military jet fighters flew for a long time over Western Upper Nile region and over Aweng and Ajak Payam, east of Twic County, apparently not to drop bombs, but to scare the local population, before the bomber struck. It was the first time in the 17-year war between the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and successive regimes in Khartoum that Twic County has been bombed for two days in a row, the locals noted.”
Again, the geography tells an unambiguous story: Talisman Energy has begun new work in the vast Block 4 concession area, with key operations near Kaikang, some sixty miles from Turalei, with Panlit twenty miles further west. The villages, the school, the people—all must be destroyed or dispersed if Talisman’s business partner, the Government of Sudan, is to create a cordon sanitaire. With the misfortune of lying on Talisman’s oil concession border area, the people of Panlit and Turalei have become the most recent targets of oil-related scorched-earth warfare. They are the most recent, but they will not be the last.
SUDAN: Schoolchildren Flee Government Bombing Raids
UN Integrated Regional Information Network
November 27, 2000—Nairobi
Sudanese government planes carried out several bombing raids in the Eastern Equatoria region at the weekend, demolishing part of a school and causing people to flee in panic, humanitarian sources said on Monday.
The attacks began on Friday in Twic county, when 14 bombs were dropped in three raids, hitting the Panlit missionary school. Two classrooms were demolished and most of the 700 children at the school fled into the bush in panic or returned to their villages. A spokesman for the Sudan Production Aid (SUPRAID)
non-governmental organisation, which works in the area, told IRIN the children were slowly trickling back from the bush, but they were too afraid to resume classes. In another raid, a herd of 73 cows was killed instantly.
On Saturday, more bombing raids took place near Turalei, causing mass panic. One old lady died of shock, but no other casualties have yet been reported. People are afraid to venture towards Turalei centre, and bush shops remained shut. The Nuer inhabitants of a displaced people’s camp fled and have not returned. SUPRAID said many of them were returnees from Western Upper Nile, and had probably gone back to that area.
The spokesman added this was the first time Twic county had been
bombed consecutively two days in a row, and regional observers pointed out that the raids were probably a prelude to the “fighting season”. The local population is reported to be very nervous about the current situation in the area.
Copyright c 2000 UN Integrated Regional
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