June 6 (Bloomberg) -- Southern Sudan’s capital, Juba, has been gripped by power outages due to fuel shortages caused by a cutoff of supplies from the north, government officials said.
The oil-rich region, which is due to become independent on July 9, depends on the north for its supplies of diesel and gasoline. Roads from the north through the disputed border region of Abyei and Unity state have been closed since early May, according to Unity state’s deputy governor, William Daud Riak.
“There is no fuel,” Juba’s mayor, Mohamed el Haj Baballa, said today by phone. “Khartoum is trying to pressurize us from all angles.”
Tensions between the north and south have risen in recent weeks after the Khartoum government responded to an attack on its forces in Abyei by occupying the area’s main town on May 21. The United Nations Security Council expressed grave concern on June 3 about the “rapidly deteriorating situation” in Abyei.
Sudanese police spokesman Hashem Ali did not answer calls to his mobile phone seeking comment. Rabie Abdel Ati, a senior member of President Umar al-Bashir’s National Congress Party and adviser to the information minister, declined to comment when called in Khartoum, the capital.
A liter (.26 gallon) of diesel, which usually costs as little as $1.12, sold for $1.87 in Juba today.
“If it continues to the end of the month, people will stop working, they will have to walk everywhere,” David Chan Thiang, the southern government’s director of economic statistics, said today by phone from Juba.
Southern Sudan will assume control of 75 percent of Sudan’s daily oil production of 490,000 barrels, the third-biggest in sub-Saharan Africa, pumped mainly by China National Petroleum Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. and India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp.
Sudan’s refineries and only oil-export terminal at Port Sudan, on the Red Sea, are in the north. The two regions now share revenue from oil pumped in the south on a 50-50 basis, under a 2005 peace agreement that ended a two-decade civil war.
--With assistance from Maram Mazen in Khartoum and Flavia Krause-Jackson in New York. Editors: Karl Maier, Ben Holland
To contact the reporter on this story: Matt Richmond in Juba via Nairobi at firstname.lastname@example.org; Maram Mazen in Khartoum at email@example.com.
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