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Conflict in South Sudan threatens oilfield workers

16th April 2014

Moscow-based Safinat oilfield workers have been evacuated after having been threatened and injured by crossfire in South Sudan’s Unity state region.

Conflict in South Sudan threatens oilfield workers
The Safinat workers were caught in crossfire between government and rebel troops around 5am to 6am local time on Monday, injuring five.

It has been reported that Moscow-based Safinat intends to evacuate injured personnel from a UN base in Unity state to the capital Juba after a serious incident at one of its Unity oilfields on Monday.

The Safinat workers were caught in crossfire between government and rebel troops around 5am to 6am local time on Monday, injuring five. A UN convoy of peacekeepers arrived at the company’s site later that day and escorted the workers to the nearest UN mission in Rubkona. A company spokesperson has told the media that all 10 Safinat employees from the site will be airlifted to the capital as soon as possible.

Rebel spokesperson Lul Ruai Koang has been quoted as saying on Tuesday that the regional capital Bentiu had been captured from government forces. He has ordered oil companies operating in the region “immediately embark on gradual and voluntary closure of oil production, and to evacuate all their staff".

"Failure to comply with this request (will mean that) the oil companies risk forced oil shutdown and the safety of their staff," he added.

Fighting broke out in the world’s newest nation last December after President Kiir accused former vice president Machar of plotting a coup. Machar denied the charges but relations subsequently broke down and armed conflict ensued.

The country has large untapped hydrocarbon reserves but lacks basic infrastructure and security.

The recent conflict has slashed production and exports.

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