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Rebels in South Sudan state massacre hundreds, hit oil industry

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Andreea Campeanu/Reuters/File

(Read caption) Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers walk past the Paloch oil field facility during the visit of Stephen Dhieu Dau, South Sudan's minister of petroleum, in Paloch, Upper Nile State, last month. By contrast, rebel violence has shut down oil production in Unity State.

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The conflict in South Sudan is deepening with rebels loyal to South Sudan’s former deputy president taking control of the capital of Unity State, Bentiu, on April 14, ordering oil companies to shut down operations and evacuate their workers. Since previous fighting had already idled oil production in the state, the biggest business impact of the takeover was on a new oil refinery under construction.

On Monday, United Nations peacekeepers rescued 10 workers with Safinat, a Russian oil-refining company. Five workers were injured, two critically. The rebels said all the workers had to be evacuated in a week. This was followed by killings of civilians a few days later in the city with reports of hundreds massacred in a mosque.

The violence jeopardizes the oil industry’s immediate future in Unity State.

“The government of Unity State says the refinery is nearly completed and that it wants to restart oil production in July with the opening of the refinery. This would be very difficult now that the government [of South Sudan] is not in control of Bentiu,” ... For the rest of the story, continue reading at our new business publication Monitor Global Outlook.

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