By means of deadly aerial assaults, the Government of Sudan has succeeded in forcing the United Nations to abandon its humanitarian relief efforts to assist the 20,000 internally displaced persons in Mangayath, Bahr el-Ghazal Province. The UN said today that it “has decided to carry out the last food drop and immediately evacuate humanitarian personnel from Mangayath without completing the planned delivery of assistance” (Reuters, October 9, 2001; attached). In commenting on the government’s bombing attacks, the UN statement noted that they “endangered the civilian population gathered to receive life-saving humanitarian assistance.” The planes carrying out these terrorist attacks flew on aviation fuel refined from crude oil supplied by the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company.
Eric Reeves [October 9, 2001]
Northampton, MA 01063
The government military aircraft that have forced the United Nations World Food Program to abandon its humanitarian mission in western Bahr el-Ghazal flew from either the El Obeid air-base, or perhaps the Greater Nile consortium airstrips. This consortium is made up of Talisman Energy of Canada, Petronas (the state-owned oil company of Malaysia), and China National Petroleum Corp. The use of consortium airstrips by the Government of Sudan for offensive military missions has been repeatedly and authoritatively documented. For example, the report of the Harker Assessment Mission (commissioned by the Canadian Foreign Ministry) found:
“[H]elicopter gunships and Antonov bombers of the Government of Sudan […] have armed and re-fueled at Heglig [epicenter of consortium infrastructure] and from there attacked civilians. This is totally incontrovertible” [page 65 of the Assessment Report, January 2000]. The same conclusions are forced by reports from both the Canadian political officer in Khartoum and a Canadian/British human rights assessment team (May 2001).
It is also the case that the oil pipeline operated by Talisman Energy and its Asian partners runs directly through El Obeid on its way north from the Heglig/Unity fields. The town of El Obeid is the site of a 10,000 barrel/day refinery, and—significantly—the forwardmost base for Government of Sudan (National Islamic Front) military aircraft. An attack on UN aid workers and civilians in western Bahr el-Ghazal would almost certainly have originated from El Obeid, or from the oil consortium airstrips.
What does it say that a company like Talisman Energy supplies the crude oil used for these terrorist assaults on innocent civilians? How can Talisman lay claim to a policy of “constructive engagement” when they are assisting Khartoum in its terrorist bombing attacks, either by permitting the use of its airstrips or in supplying crude oil to be refined into aviation fuel—or both? Why is the company willing to partner with a regime that (according to today’s UN statement) is “endanger[ing] the civilian population gathered to receive life-saving humanitarian assistance”? The appalling answer is callous greed, accompanied by unrelenting disingenuousness and outright prevarication.
Khartoum’s support for terrorism—internationally and domestically—is established beyond any shadow of a doubt. Today’s deeply disturbing UN announcement only highlights one further terrorist atrocity. Canada, in permitting Talisman Energy to remain complicit in supplying fuel and airstrip resources to Khartoum, raises serious questions about the Canadian commitment to combating terrorism.
UN quits Sudan village after government air raids
KHARTOUM, Oct 9 (Reuters) – A U.N. aid agency said on Tuesday it was leaving a southern Sudanese village hit by three days of government air raids during food distribution there.
The office of the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan said in a statement that Mangayath in Raga province of the Bahr el-Ghazal region had been bombed on October 5, 6 and 8.
It said one civilian had been killed and 14 wounded during the first air strike on October 6.
A U.N. World Food Programme statement said on Monday that two days of bombing had disrupted relief food distribution to about 20,000 people in the Mangayath area.
While the WFP did not say who carried out those raids, Tuesday’s statement said clearly that the village “was bombed by government forces while food distribution by the U.N. to internally displaced persons was taking place”.
About 20,000 people have fled to Mangayath since late September after heavy fighting in Raga between government forces and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), which captured Raga in June.
The United Nations “has decided to carry out the last food drop and immediately evacuate humanitarian personnel from Mangayath without completing the planned delivery of assistance,” Tuesday’s statement said.
The raids, in which an airstrip and food drop zone were bombed, “endangered the civilian population gathered to receive life-saving humanitarian assistance”, it said.
The army has been unavailable to comment.