24 December 2012

South Sudan: Jonglei Hopes for Oil Production in 2013

Bor — Jonglei Governor, Kuol Manyang Juuk, said Monday there are "good signs" that oil production will commence next year as the security situation improves in the South Sudan's largest but troubled state.

Jonglei state Governor Kuol Manyang Juuk speaks to the press in Bor on December 24, 2012 (ST)

In his Christmas address, Governor Kuol Manyang Juuk said that 2013 will be a year of development.

"We believe a lot of things will happen for example the oil [exploration]. We will have oil in Jonglei state next year. There are good signs that we are going to get our own oil and there are a lot of investors that are ready to come [to Jonglei]," said Governor Manyang.

The French oil firm, Total is the operator of Block B in Jonglei state. However, it failed due to security reasons to engage explorations activities in the immense state.

Unconfirmed reports aid last September that the south Sudanese government intend to split the 120,000 square km oil block between three companies.

Despite widespread violence between rival cattle herding groups at the beginning of the year and an rebellion that began in April Governor Manyang described the past year as peaceful compared to previous years. He asked rival ethnic communities to embrace tranquility.

The United Nations estimate that 2,000 people have died in Jonglei's inter-ethnic conflicts over cattle and retaliations for previous raids and abdctions.

Thousands of people match in Bor, Jonglei State to celebrate Christmas Eve, 24 December 2012 (ST)

"The government of South Sudan wants to build the road linking Juba to Bor to Malakal," Manyang said, when asked what peace dividends people could expect in 2013.

Decentralization of state government to counties will be a priority in the next year he said. The state government will also building a road linking Bor, Pibor and Pochalla with Ethiopia as well as some smaller connector roads, the governor said.

He also promised that more police will be trained and deploying to the state's counties to boast civilians protections are measure governor Manyang claims.

Jonglei State experienced large scale tribal clashes in 2011 including Lou Nuer retaliatory attack on Murle tribe, killing many people and displacing thousands others. Revenge attacks blamed on armed civilians from Pibor's Murle followed.

Thousands of people match in Bor, Jonglei State to celebrate Christmas Eve, 24 December 2012 (ST)

Governor Manyang counts the reintegration of forces of late renegade general George Athor Deng into SPLA, disarmament exercise and Jonglei communities' peace conference as successes.

The rebellion of David Yau Yau, however, which began at the same time as Athor, after the elections of 2010 has continued despite a peaceful interlude between 2011 and April 2012.

Earlier this month South Sudan's army shot down a UN helicopter mistaking it to be a Sudanese military aircraft resupplying the Yau Yau's in Pibor County. The United Nations Security Council has strongly criticised Juba for the friendly fire incident.

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