JUBA Jan 11 (Reuters) - South Sudan has accused the Sudanese government of
blocking 3.4 million barrels of its crude oil exports, diverting over half a
million barrels to its refineries and building a pipeline to keep diverting
Six months after landlocked South Sudan seceded from Sudan, the two
countries have failed to agree on how much Juba should pay Khartoum in fees
to transport its production of 350,000 barrels per day to port.
South Sudan's minister of petroleum and mining, Stephen Dhieu Dau, said
Sudan was re-routing all of the new nation's Nile Blend crude oil
entitlements for December to refineries in El Obeid and Khartoum.
"Any diversion of (South Sudan's) oil without its consent is nothing less
than theft, and preventing crude oil from leaving port is unlawful and a
violation of international laws and norms," Dhieu Dau said in a statement
obtained by Reuters on Wednesday.
The Sudanese foreign ministry could not be reached for comment. President
Omar Hassan al-Bashir said this month Khartoum would impose a fee on Juba
until a deal was reached on a transit fee but gave no details.
Already tense relations between the two nations soured in November when
South Sudan accused Sudan of temporarily seizing 1.6 million barrels at Port
Sudan. Sudan threatened to take 23 percent of South Sudan's oil exports as
payment in kind until a final deal.
Dhieu Dau said Khartoum had sold over half a million barrels of South
Sudanese oil to an undisclosed Sudanese buyer and had started construction
of a pipeline that would permanently deliver 13 percent of the South's Dar
blend to refineries in Khartoum.
Analysts say Khartoum needs to keep supplying oil to its refineries or risk
damaging its facilities because of the nature of the crude.
Dhieu Dau charged Khartoum with preventing two ships carrying 1.6 million
barrels of South Sudanese oil from leaving Port Sudan, another from loading
0.6 million barrels and two others from entering port to take possession of
a further 1.2 million barrels.
Companies that buy crude from Sudan while the South's oil is being stolen
"will enjoy no further business with the Government of South Sudan", he
"South Sudan further reminds Khartoum that the 1.6 million barrels of Dar
Blend, now loaded onto ships, no longer belongs to South Sudan," Dhieu Dau
South Sudan voted overwhelmingly for independence in a referendum a year
ago, the culmination of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war in
which over 2 million people died.
Dana Wilkins from Global Witness, which investigates transparency in
extractive industries, said the delays and penalties incurred by the
shipping companies could become very expensive if the situation is not
"Shaking investor confidence in an already uncertain context is a big move
for Khartoum to be making right now," Wilkins said. (Reporting by Hereward
Holland; Editing by Ulf Laessing and Jane Baird)
* Kenyan troops crossed border in October to battle al Shabaab
* Kenyan police place several people under surveillance
By By Feisal Omar and Mohamed Ahmed
MOGADISHU, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Kenya's military fought a clash with al
Shabaab fighters in southern Somalia on Tuesday, and Kenyan police said they
had placed several people under surveillance to prevent attacks at home
linked to the Somali insurgents.
The Kenyan military said one of its soldiers and six al Shabaab fighters had
been killed in the clash between the Somali towns of Tabda and Qoqani. Al
Shabaab said none of its fighters and six Kenyan soldiers had died.
Kenyan troops crossed into Somalia in October after a wave of kidnappings
and cross-border raids which Nairobi blamed on the Islamist rebels, who
control large swathes of southern Somalia and are battling a weak
Al Shabaab fighters have denied responsibility for the kidnappings and
threatened retaliatory attacks on Kenyans in response to the cross-border
Kenyan army spokesman Emmanuel Chirchir said Tuesday's fighting took place
in the morning while soldiers were on patrol.
"During the engagement, six al Shabaab militants were killed while others
escaped with injuries and are likely to seek medical attention at nearby
refugee camps," Chirchir said in a statement.
"Administrators of medical facilities and locals along the border are
requested to report any suspicious persons with bullet wounds."
Abdiasis Abu Musab, spokesman for the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab fighters
told Reuters they suffered no casualties and killed nine soldiers using
landmines, rocket propelled grenades and gunfire against a convoy of trucks.
A soldier for Somalia's Transitional Federal Government confirmed the
incident, but could not give more details on the casualties.
"Fighting lasted 40 minutes. There are casualties and damage but we have no
exact figures so far. Somali government forces were not with the Kenyan
convoy," Abdirisak Abdi Yusuf told Reuters by phone from Dhobley, a town
near the Kenya border.
Al Shabaab has waged a bloody five-year campaign to drive the largely
impotent government from power. In August it left most of its bases in the
capital Mogadishu, where it continues to launch guerilla-style attacks.
The festering instability across much of the Horn of Africa country presents
a major obstacle to the interim government tasked with holding elections and
adopting a new constitution by August next year.
Since Kenyan troops crossed into Somalia, Kenyan security agencies have been
on high alert for attacks. They suspect al Shabaab rebels have been behind a
string of deadly strikes in the border region.
SEVERAL ON SURVEILLANCE
On Saturday, Britain said it believed militants were completing plans to
launch attacks in Kenya, possibly targeting places frequented by expatriates
Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said Kenyan authorities had put several
people on surveillance across the country, saying some had the potential to
plan and carry out attacks.
"We have received reports that members of al Shabaab have left (southern
Somalia port) Kismayu for Nairobi, but at this point, we have several
characters under surveillance whom we think have connections to al Shabaab,"
he told a news conference in Nairobi.
"We do not believe that more than 10 people are potentially lethal and all
those ... are equally under surveillance," he said without giving more
Late on Monday, security agents arrested two suspects accused of links to a
wave of grenade, landmine and gun attacks in Garissa, capital of Kenya's
North Eastern Province which borders Somalia.
North Eastern police commander Leo Nyongesa said the two, among them a
former police officer, were arrested with manuals on how to assemble and use
"Two men, Kenyans have been arrested, they are in our custody being
interrogated to gather more information, we expect to make more arrests,"
said Nyongesa in a phone interview late on Monday. (Additional reporting by
Noor Ali in Isiolo, Kenya, Humphrey Malalo and Wangui Kanina in Nairobi and
Abdi Sheikh in Mogadishu; Editing by George Obulutsa)
C Thomson Reuters 2012 All rights reserved
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Received on Wed Jan 11 2012 - 16:19:40 EST