Government forces and government-sponsored militias are attacking the oilfields of Western Upper Nile, in an effort to dislodge the SPLA rebels and expand oil industry development. The primary victims of the violence are civilians.
Continuous patrols and raids by government-sponsored militias along the Bentiu-Adok oil road are also discouraging the return of civilians, who were displaced by the fighting in January and early February. This is another violation of the current ceasefire agreement.
The Brussels-based NGO "International Crisis Group" has documented several attacks by government-sponsored militias in Western Upper Nile since the February 4 agreement. On the 22nd and 16th, about 1100 government sponsored militiamen under the command of Peter Gadet made three-pronged attacks out of Mankien, targeting nearby villages. On the 13th, government-sponsored militias attacked three villages close to a newly constructed road built to facilitate oil industry development.
The Sudanese government conducted similar military offensives in violation of the October 2002 cessation of hostilities agreement in January 2003 and December 2002. - Adam Geibel
For a deeper analysis of Sudan's peace process and the military conflict, please see the ICG's briefing, "Sudan's Oilfields Burn Again: Brinksmanship Endangers the Peace Process, 10 February 2003" at www.crisisweb.org.