June 13, 2011 (KHARTOUM) — The rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) carried out an attack on the airport of the oil rich area of Heglieg saying it wanted to warn petroleum companies to stop facilities to the Sudanese army.
Located in South Kordofan state, the Heglieg oil fields are operated by the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, a consortium of China National Petroleum Corporation, Petronas Carigali Overseas of Malaysia, ONGC Videsh (the overseas arm of ONGC) of India and Sudan’s oil company, Sudapet.
In a statement released on Monday signed by Fidail Mohamed Rahoma, a member of JEM Military High Command, the rebel groups said “a small military contingent belonging JEM Kordofan branch made a successful attack at Heglieg Airport on Thursday 9 June.
JEM further said the “attack and brief occupation of the airport were meant to send a clear message to oil companies that use of their airports and other facilities by GoS, its army and militia will not go unpunished by the Movement”.
Sudanese officials were not available to confirm the attack, also the rebel group did not mention any human and material casualties.
For over week there have been clashes in central state of South Kordofan state on the northern side of the Sudan’s north – south, between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).
The political wing of the SPLA – the SPLM – lost May’s gubernatorial elections to the National Congress Party who govern North Sudan. The result was contested by the SPLM – whose southern sector govern the South which will become independent in July – despite the election being endorsed by the international community.
Soon after the result the nothern government all SPLA soldiers must move south of the border or disarm, despite the soldiers being from South Kordofan not South Sudan.
The pro-Sudanese government media in Khartoum alleged that Unity State governor Taban Deng was encouraging the rebel group to carry out attacks in South Kordofan. Khartoum and Juba used to accuse each other of supporting rebel groups from both sides.
The Sudanese government and JEM rebels failed to agree on the agenda of the peace talks in Doha after the adoption of the Peace Document, a framework agreement, by the stakeholders conference on 31 May.
The Sudanese government offered to negotiate only on the security arrangements and the participation of the rebel group in the central and regional institutions but JEM said talks should include all the chapters of the peace document.