Tuesday 26 September 2017

Five million hungry in Sudan oil dispute

South Sudanese returnees from Khartoum gather at the port in South Sudan's capital Juba. Photo: Reuters
South Sudanese returnees from Khartoum gather at the port in South Sudan's capital Juba. Photo: Reuters

Mike Pflanz in Nairobi

ALMOST five million people in South Sudan -- more than half of the population -- face increasingly severe food shortages after their government ceased oil exports in a row with the country's neighbour, Sudan.

Ministers in Juba, South Sudan's capital, turned off the oil taps in January because they said Sudan was charging too much to pipe the crude to export terminals on the Red Sea.

But 98pc of South Sudan's revenue comes from oil sales, and the UN has warned that a lack of state funding, coupled with increasing military clashes with Sudan, has pushed more people into sustained hunger.

As many as 4.7 million people already do not have enough to eat or face imminent serious food shortages in the world's newest country, according to new UN figures.

South Sudan and Sudan separated into two independent states 10 months ago, as part of a 2005 peace deal which ended Africa's longest-running civil war between the two.

But South Sudan has struggled to enact policies to help its eight million-strong population, and has recently fallen back into conflict with Sudan over their disputed border.

Both sides were due to confirm that they would resume African Union-sponsored peace talks over shared grievances yesterday, under a deadline with threats of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council last week.

But Sudan has failed to signal that it will restart discussions, said Pagan Amum, South Sudan's lead negotiator. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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