October 24, 2007 (Xinhua)
The Sudanese Armed Forces confirmed on Wednesday the safety of an oilfield in Heglig region in southern Sudan, which had been reportedly seized by the former rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
The Heglig oilfield, the biggest one in Sudan, was "totally safe," said Osman Mohamed al-Aghbash, the spokesman of the Sudanese army.
He told reporters that all the roads, airports, entrances and exits of the region were under the control of army forces, adding that the army forces were performing their duties there "with all the efficiency and capability."
The field operator, Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company Limited (GNPOC), also informed its personnel in an intern note, that “nothing like this happened in the field."
“The situation is very normal all over the concession and the company operation is running smoothly”. Said GNPOC Security Department.
The pro-ruling National Congress Party Akhirlahza newspaper reported on Wednesday that the SPLM had take control of the Heglig oilfield.
The Arabic-language daily claimed that the SPLM had deployed a battalion around the region and had cut the road between Khartoum and Heglig by putting some 100 soldiers at the northern entrance of the region.
The SPLM announced on Oct. 11 the suspension of its participation in the central government, threatening a peace deal it signed with the Khartoum government in 2005.
The move of the SPLM has caused the most serious political crisis for the present Sudanese Government of National Unity since it was established in September 2005, and escalated tensions between Khartoum and southern Sudan.
Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha accused on Sunday the SPLM of mobilizing and building up military forces along the boundaries between northern and southern Sudan.