Hundreds protest in Sudan, displaced by dam-witnesses
Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:36pm GMT
* Up to 1,200 protest in state capital
* Protesters use variation of "Arab Spring" chant
* Dam generates 1,250 MW of electricity
By Khalid Abdelaziz
KHARTOUM, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Hundreds of Sudanese protested in the city of
ad-Damir on Sunday, demanding the government do more to help villagers whose
homes were flooded by an electricity-generating dam, witnesses said.
Witnesses said up to 1,200 protesters gathered outside a government office
in ad-Damir, capital of River Nile state, to call on authorities to provide
more assistance for people displaced by the Merowe dam.
"The people want the fulfillment of their rights," the protesters chanted, a
variation of a slogan often used by demonstrators in "Arab Spring"
The protesters also called for the resignation of the electricity and dams
The $2 billion, Chinese-built Merowe dam was completed in 2009 with the aim
of doubling Sudan's electricity supply. The 1,250 megawatt project displaced
tens of thousands of people and has long been a source of controversy.
Villagers have clashed with authorities over the dam in the past, though
most have now accepted government compensation and moved.
Ezzedin Jafar, a spokesman for displaced people in the Manaseer area, 350 km
(220 miles) north of Khartoum, said demonstrators had started a sit-in and
would move the protest to Khartoum if their demands were not answered.
"We've tried to meet with officials in the federal government and the state
government, but they've refused to respond to us," he said by telephone.
Jafar said about 12,000 people in the area were still affected by the dam,
about 9,000 of them living in the open. Police and local government
officials were not immediately available to comment.
Sudan has been battling an economic crisis including rising inflation since
South Sudan declared independence in July, taking about 75 percent of former
Sudan's oil output with it.
The two countries have yet to agree on how much South Sudan should pay to
send its crude through pipelines that run north through Sudan to a Red Sea
Sudan's government is also fighting several armed insurgencies in its South
Kordofan and Blue Nile border states and its western Darfur region.
Sudan's capital Khartoum and other cities have seen small protests this year
over rising food prices. Many demonstrators say they have been inspired by
"Arab Spring" uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia but have been quickly dispersed
by security forces. (Writing by Alexander Dziadosz; editing by Tim Pearce)
S.Sudan offers billions of dollars to settle Sudan disputes
Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:26pm GMT
By Hereward Holland
JUBA Nov 18 (Reuters) - South Sudan is offering Khartoum "billions of
dollars" if it agrees to settle all bilateral disputes and gives up claims
to the contested oil-producing Abyei region, a top official said on Friday.
South Sudan became the world's newest country after voting for independence
in a January vote, taking with it three-quarters of the former united
country's roughly 500,000 barrels per day of oil production.
The split left a long list of unresolved issues; including Abyei, how to
share oil revenues and other assets, and how to end border violence. Sudan
is facing a severe economic crisis and has asked fellow Arab countries for
aid to compensate for the loss of oil revenues.
African Union (AU) mediators hope both countries will meet in Ethiopia next
week after talks collapsed in the summer over the question of how much the
landlocked South should pay for the use of Sudan's export facilities.
Apart from how to divide oil revenues, Abyei is one of the biggest disputes
between north and south. Sudan's armed forces seized the border region in
May and says Abyei will stay with the north unless a much-delayed referendum
agreed under the 2005 peace agreement decides otherwise.
South Sudan's chief negotiator Pagan Amum said his government has presented
Sudan and the African Union with a "package proposal" to resolve issues
around Abyei, oil, financial assistance, borders and security.
"We presented a very reasonable and logical proposal in which we are
prepared to assist the north and give them billions of dollars," Amum told
He said his country would "be ready to assist the Republic of Sudan to
manage its economic crisis resulting from the separation of South Sudan," if
Khartoum respects the territorial integrity of the South. He did not
Decades of civil war have left the South severely underdeveloped but the
flow of oil dollars means it has a higher per capita income than many of its
African neighbours. It contracted the sale of oil worth $2.14 billion from
July to October.
Sudan's foreign ministry spokesman El-Obeid Morawah declined to comment on
Amum's proposal other than to say such moves should be made during talks and
not through the media.
He said the government would meet AU mediator Thabo Mbeki in Khartoum on
Saturday and then decide whether talks in Ethiopia would make sense now or
if Sudan needed more time.
"We have not yet agreed on a specific date for talks (in Ethiopia)," he
Sudan's foreign ministry called on Juba to reconsider a presidential decree
transferring shares in oil consortia owned by Sudapet, Sudan's state-owned
oil company, to South Sudan's oil-firm Nilepet.
But Amum said Nilepet would take over Sudapet's shares.
"Sudapet and its interests and assets will pass to Nilepet as the
government company that inherits and takes over the properties of the
government of Sudan as part of the separation and disengagement and as an
exercise of sovereignty," he said. (Reporting by Hereward Holland;
additional reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Matthew Jones)
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Received on Sun Nov 20 2011 - 18:10:50 EST