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Evacuated oil workers return to South Sudan oil fields

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May 21, 2015 (JUBA) - South Sudan said it had returned its oil workers to the country’s production areas, a day after they were evacuated from the oilfields in Upper Nile state due to heavy fighting between the two warring factions in the region on Wednesday.

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Workers at the Petrodar oil concession flush out the remaining oil prior to a shutdown on oil production by South Sudan, on January 29, 2012. (Getty)

“Actually production did not stop. It was only due to precautionary measures that some workers, especially the international staff were allowed to relocate to Juba. It was not evacuation”, Upper Nile’s information minister, Peter Hoth Tuach said Thursday.

He said enough forces were deployed to protect the country’s oil facilities.

“These workers have are returning. The rebels have already been defeated from Melut. Our forces have destroyed three of their boats which have been causing panic. They are now still burning and weapons which they were using are now exploding,” said Tuach.

He added, “The civilians have started to return to their homes because the UN-run camp here in Melut is too small to accommodate all. It was over swollen on Tuesday”.

SPLA RETAKE MELUT

The South Sudan army (SPLA) spokesperson, Phillip Aguer said pro-government forces dislodged the armed opposition forces from Melut, a town close to the oilfields.

“This afternoon at 4:30pm, our gallant SPLA forces dislodged rebels of Riek Machar and forces of Johnson Olony from Melut,” Aguer told reporters in Juba on Thursday.

“The boats they used have been destroyed and our forces are still pursuing them. The general command of the SPLA asks the criminals and other forces in Malakal to leave", he added, saying the SPLA were capable of defending the nation’s territory and citizens.

PALOCH OILFIELD BESIEGED

The rebel leader’s spokesman, James Dak said the country’s main oilfields of Paloch, some 200kms north of Malakal, had been besieged and designated priority target.

“SPLM/SPLA forces have converged around Paloch oilfields - Adar (Upper Nile) state - from different directions to capture the oilfields from pro-Salva Kiir forces any time soon,” Dak said.

He said the leadership of the movement also renewed “strong advice” to any remaining oil worker in Paloch to evacuate for safety reasons.

He accused the government of allegedly using some oil workers as human shield and said Juba would be responsible for any harm on them.

“We have learnt with disbelief that the government, out of panic, has prevented some of international oil workers from leaving the area, using them as human shield,” he said.

“We call on oil companies operating in the area to ensure their workers are evacuated.”

The rebels said their counter-offensive aimed to temporarily close down oil production or to cut off Juba from the oil revenues which they said president Kiir’s government had been using to “hire mercenaries and buy weaponry to perpetuate the war.”

This, Dak said, was in response to government’s “full scale offense” which he described as a violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement between the two warring parties.

(ST)

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  • 21 May 2015 22:47, by lino

    Are the workers coming back to their death or what???

    repondre message

    • 21 May 2015 23:52, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

      The life of workers will be under government, nothing even will given doubt on their safety, rebels forces have been flushed out forcibly.

      repondre message

      • 22 May 2015 09:39, by Mayom County Boy

        yes for sure let oil flow again to Sudan
        because rebels were been flush back by government troops forces .

        repondre message

  • 22 May 2015 02:17, by Augustino

    I am happy with the way our Pro government forces from Uppernile and Unity states defeated the Culprits and looters from Riek, Oyai Deng Ajak and Oliny are well disciplined though they were using government war equipment. I hope they will be totally defeated to final stage this time. SPLA Oyeeeeeee

    repondre message

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