Oil Disputes Raise Tension Among Southern Sudan Factions

Oil Disputes Raise Tension Among Southern Sudan Factions

A simmering conflict is threatening to start another war in Sudan. This time, it is as much about oil as it is ethnicity. Unequal distribution of oil revenues, bungled oil contracts, and differences in ethnic power sharing are creating new fault lines in an already divided country.

The South Sudan Defense Front (SSDF), a former ally of the Khartoum government in its battle against the rebel Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA), has threatened to attack SPLA positions once again. The group, formed by Riek Marchar, now vice president of the Government of South Sudan, or GOSS, complains that its people are not benefiting from oil revenues.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in January 2005, ended a two-decade war between the SPLA and Khartoum. It requires Khartoum to channel 50 percent of oil revenues to the GOSS. The southern government must then commit 2 percent of the revenue to communities within the oil fields.

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