South African flown to Khartoum 'for investigation'

2012-04-28 23:24

Khartoum - Four foreigners investigating the debris from recent fighting between Sudan and South Sudan have been captured in the Heglig oilfield area, Khartoum's military said on Saturday.

Sawarmi Khaled Saad, the army spokesperson, identified the foreigners as a Briton, a Norwegian, a South African and a South Sudanese.

He was speaking to reporters after the four were flown to Khartoum for "more investigation".

"We captured them inside Sudan's borders, in the Heglig area, and they were collecting war debris for investigation," Saad said at the airport.

Little access for reporters

He added that all four had military backgrounds, and were accompanied by military equipment and a military vehicle. He did not elaborate.

"This confirms what we said before, that South Sudan in its aggression against Heglig was supported by foreign experts," the spokesperson said.

Sudan severely restricts access for journalists, diplomats and foreign aid workers in South Kordofan state to which Heglig belongs.

It did not allow reporters or other observers into the area during South Sudan's 10-day occupation of the oilfield, meaning the situation on the ground has been difficult to verify.

Norwegian ambassador Jens-Petter Kjemprud told AFP he had not yet been able to identify the Norwegian or meet the person.

"We are in contact with everyone who could try to give us the name," and what possible reason the person might have had for being in the area, he said.

In the most serious unrest since the South's independence, Juba's troops occupied Sudan's main oil region of Heglig for 10 days, a move which coincided with air strikes against the South.

Sudan declared on April 20 that its army had forced the Southern soldiers out of Heglig, but the South said it withdrew of its own accord.

Each side blames the other for damaging the oil facility, which provided about half of Sudan's oil output and is now shut pending repairs.

Unclear when foreigners detained

Last week the government organised brief, controlled visits to Heglig for journalists and foreign ambassadors.

"While the full story behind the withdrawal is not yet known, there is mounting evidence that the withdrawal was due to a mixture of fierce diplomatic pressure and military losses following a heavy bombing campaign by SAF on SPLA positions in and around the town," said the Small Arms Survey, a Swiss-based independent research project.

It was not clear when the foreigners were detained.

They arrived in Khartoum on a civilian aircraft and were escorted directly to a minibus.

An AFP reporter saw that they were not handcuffed, but their clothes were dusty.

  • Ian - 2012-04-29 07:40

    stinks rotten of a coverup, but its africa, murder continent of the planet

  • Utopian - 2012-04-29 08:42

    I work in the Heglig area and i can tell you that Southern forces took control of the oil facilities without any alarm bells being rung. The North allowed them in so that they could justify to the international community the massacre that they were about to carry out. The three guys that have been captured were part of a forensic team investigating the use of white phosphorous shells by the north

  • Omo - 2012-04-29 10:48

    When a South African mecenary is arrested in another part of Africa.Other South Africans will start insulting the country where they were arrested.@utopian , pray tell what an Oil industry investigator is doing with military equipment and why does she/he have a military background.Save the sob story for the birds.SA mercenaries are always up to no good all over Africa ,that is why they are now being targeted.I once served in the Navy of another African country and i can not tell you how many times we arrested SA mercenaries who were smuggling arms to rebels in our country.SA mercenaries are a menace to Africa and it is high time they are dealt with.Have you guys forgotten the Equatorial Guinea saga? Did the you South Africans not claim that the South Africans arrested in zimbabwe were engineers but it later turned out that they were former members of the SADF going to Equatorial Guinea to effect a coup under the sponsorship of the son of a former british prime minister? Like i said earlier ,save the sob story those people who have no clue what evil you folks are up to on the African continent.Certain persons in SA want to gain 100% control of the Oil industry in Sudan that is why all this is happening.The greedy business deals that you South Africans perpetuate in other African countries only causes mayhem for the local populace.

      Tanie - 2012-04-29 11:14

      Omo,Omo,Omo calm down I can feel your breath from miles away. Firstly you are contradicting yourself, now you listen and listen carefully, you are talking about former SANDF,these guys do not and I repeat do not represent my country and certainly not the South African citizens,right? Secondly, you refer to those rebels as South African mercenaries, refer to the above line, THEY DO NOT REPRESENT SOUTH AFRICA they are out there for self gain. Thirdly, "Certain persons in SA want to gain 100% control of the Oil industry in Sudan that is why all this is happening" this is a quote from your accusations, "CERTAIN PERSONS" how is this the rest of South Africa? you tell me, hence I say you keep contradicting yourself. So Omo, before you puke, look for a bowl at least your sick will be easy to dispose.

      michael.a.devilliers - 2012-04-29 12:09

      Not even the Sudanese authorities are calling this guy a mercenary... You mad bro.

      Pieter - 2012-04-29 13:47

      You are likely an illegal Nigerian in South Africa?

      Omo - 2012-04-29 21:45

      Why am i not surprised at the replies to my comments.Typical SA white "we can do no wrong mentality" @Pieter so asking a question about my nationality and immigration status is the best intellectual reply you can offer to my comment?I thought you guys were supposed to have bigger cortexes than Africans? At least you are educated enough to recognize what my Avatar stand for.If my being a Nigerian irks you or robs you the wrong way ,be my guest and jump into the nearest lake.

      Severiano - 2012-04-30 09:50

      OMO .. YOU ARE A NOB ...!!!!!

  • alfredo.kilino - 2012-05-01 08:55

    You better prove your story Nigerian man because this time you 100% wrong and you will die in hell.

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