Clashes In Unity Oil Fields Leaves 16 Dead

Information Minister Michael Makuei Leuth on Thursday said oil producing areas have not been affected by the conflict. [File]

The fighting was reported to have started in Unity Oil field yesterday at 10pm local time and later escalated to Tharjath – largest oil producing field in South Sudan – this morning according to the sources.

“A group of armed men came at around 10pm to the compound – of Unity oil field – and killed staffs,” a senior official of Greater Petroleum Operating Company (GPOC) who preferred to remain anonymous said.

“Those killed were five but they can be more than 5,” he said, adding; “currently we are camped at UNMISS compound here in Bentiu.”

Amos Kor, a citizen who said he witnessed the “serious incident” explained that, armed men started the fight within the compound using pangas.

They render the police and security officers manning the camp helpless.

“I witnessed then four people killed with one wounded,” he said. The situation was rescued after intervention of the SPLA.

Bonifacio Taban, a VOA Correspondent in Unity State said that fighting in Tharjath oil field was an escalation from Unity oil field.

“The Deputy Governor Mabek Lang – of Unity State – confirmed to me that 11 people were killed in Tharjath and five in Unity,” Taban said. “The situation was rescued after the SPLA intervened,” he said, adding that 210 people are currently camped at UNMISS Compound in Bentiu.

Efforts to reach the Unity State government officials for further information were fruitless.

UNMISS Spokesman Joe Contreras told Radio Miraya this afternoon that Unity State is among six of the states hundreds of civilians are camping on its compound in South Sudan following the deteriorating insecurity situation in the country.

Unity State is the home to Riek Machar who was accused by President Salva Kiir on Monday of attempting a coup to over throw the country’s government last Sunday.

Riek is reported still at large.

About 200 oil workers who sought refuge at a United Nations base in Unity State, a South Sudanese oil-producing region bordering Sudan, are expected to be evacuated by their employers, a United Nations official said on Thursday.

(READ: Oil Workers At South Sudan U.N. Base Expected To Be Evacuated – U.N.)

“We expect their presence to be temporary because we understand that the company they are working for will be arranging for transport to get out of Unity State,” Joe Contreras, U.N. spokesman in South Sudan, told Reuters, without saying which company they worked for.

The oil companies operating in Unity State are China National Petroleum Corp, India’s ONGC Videsh and Malaysia’s Petronas.

Information Minister Michael Makuei Leuth on Thursday said South Sudan’s oil producing areas have not been affected by the conflict, in which up to 500 people have been killed since fighting started on Sunday evening.

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