The Citizen (Juba)

5 March 2012

South Sudan: Sudan Jets Bomb Oil Wells, Cause Serious Damages

Bentiu — Following the bombardment of South Sudanese oil fields in Elnar oil fields, an area in Unity State by Sudan jet planes on Wednesday 29th.February, 2012 in the afternoon, serious damages on one oil well causing spills of oil was witnessed.

Last Saturday journalists were flown from Juba to see for themselves the damages inflicted on the oil wells by Khartoum and during their tour of the area with a delegation from the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining the journalists saw the grim sights of bombing left over by Khartoum jets.

The area received five strikes from the plane, one of which landed just three meters from Elnar 8 and the bomb's fragments damaged the oil well.

At Elnar 5, as a result of a bomb dropped about five hundred meters from it experienced some oil spills after the technicians abruptly shut the well.

The actual damage on the oil line is yet to be accessed by the technicians from Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC), said the company.

The oil spills at Elnar 5 are said to have been caused by pressure as a result of the emergency shutdown bulb (ESB), a technical term referring to the abrupt machines switch off.

Unconfirmed numbers of cattle are said to have been killed also by the air strike. Eye witnesses told journalists different numbers with the figures ranging from four to thirty.

The technicians revealed that they were flashing the wells to keep it clean after the shutdown of the oil when the plane came.

The Director General for Petroleum, Mohamed Lino Benjamin who led the delegation said that the loss caused as a result of the bomb will be accessed by the technicians.

A car was also reported to have been damaged by the flying debris from the bomb blasts but by the time of the oil field tour, the car was not at the site.

Journalists had to be escorted by soldiers to the area that stood about 35 kilometers from Bentiu, the state capital of Unity State.

This is likely to cause the government huge sums of money while trying to repair but the technicians said that they are yet to access the impact of the damage as they could not tell in monetary terms by press time.

The Minister of Information and Broadcasting in the government of South Sudan, Dr. Barnaba Benjamin Marial on Thursday condemned the act.

The oil issue that escalated the tensions between the two states prompting the African Union High level implementation panel to mediate the issues of the two countries is now experiencing another level of bombardments.

After the independence of Juba from Khartoum, the two countries have had tense relations and the shutting of the oil which might fuel war as tensions rise higher.

This comes just a few days after Khartoum threatened to retaliate on the South claiming that it is backing rebels in his country who recently captured two major towns in South Kordofan.

The claim has been disputed on several occasions by the government of Juba.

Dr. Barnaba called on the United Nations Security Council, the international community and the African Union to intervene on the matter.

Khartoum and Juba had signed non-aggression documents in Addis Ababa this month, a document that has not been respected by Khartoum.

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