January 7, 2008 (NSV)
Gen. Oyai Deng Ajak who is heading the security committee formed to secure oil producing areas met today with president Beshir and briefed him on what is to happen within coming days concerning the withdrawal of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) from the oilfields in the south, leaving them for the Joint Integrated Unit (JIU), composed of both the SPLA and SAF.
SAF's Haj Ahmed al Jeili is assisting Oyai in the joint defense command that will see through the removal of SAF from most of oilfields in southern Sudan, as agreed upon recently in the six-man crisis committee that ended its work in December 2007 before SPLM ministers joined national unity government. The date set was Dec. 31 but the SAF has stretched the deadline to Jan. 9th, coming up in 2 days.
Meanwhile, the NCP’s Omar Beshir ordered Energy ministry, south Sudan police, Sudan Security and SAF to cooperate fully in implementing what was agreed between SPLM and NCP.
The ministry of finance has been tasked to fund the deployment of JIU in the oilfields.
All Sudan oil producing areas are under SAF since oil exploration and extraction began in Sudan. Bentiu, Difra, Higlig, Adariel, and many other oilfields inland are controlled by northerners. South Sudanese are only casual workers in these fields.
The north of Sudan has witnessed great economic boom since 30th August, 1999 when the first Sudan's oil tanker was sent to Malaysia. SAF and other former militias from southern Sudan used violence to expel natives from places were wells were found containing oil. The Chinese who helped to build Sudan's oil industry also took part in clearing lands for exploration and gave lots of arms to SAF under NCP.
The north worries that in the event south Sudan separates, it will take away all the oil producing areas, as they are located in the south. The south too favors exporting/importing oil to/fro Mombasa rather than Port Sudan which is far flung from landlocked south.
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