Darfur: guerillas warn off oil companies

A Darfur rebel group April 17 warned foreign oil firms against exploring oil and minerals in the western Sudan province. “The Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) wishes to make clear to foreign investors and the Sudanese government that so long as the people of Darfur are denied their basic rights, the exploitation of natural resources in Darfur for the benefit of the National Congress Party regime or any foreign firm will not be tolerated,” said SLM leader Abdelwahid al-Nur in a statement e-mailed to Sudan Tribune.

Al-Nur said that oil and mineral resources in the region are the collective property of peoples of Darfur, and they should remain unexploited until the end of current conflict. He added only the people of Darfur are entitled to decide the fate of this wealth. “We in the SLM as well as the other parties are not authorized to dispose of this wealth while 90% of the Darfurians are displaced or refugees in the neighboring countries,” he said.

In April 2005, the Sudanese Minister of Energy and Mining, Awad Ahmed Al-Jazz, announced that oil had been discovered in Darfur. The region has untapped oil, gold, iron and silver as well as natural gas.

Most of Sudan’s current oil production comes from oil fields in southern Sudan, where proceeds are now shared under a peace treaty between the ruling National Congress Party and the former rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). (Sudan Tribune, April 16)

See our last post on Sudan and Darfur.