Thousands of South Sudanese to create room for oil extraction

Monday November 12 2018

South Sudan President Salva Kiir. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

South Sudan President Salva Kiir. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOSEPH ODUHA
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Thousands of residents of Pibor in South Sudan's Boma State will be relocated from their homes to pave the ways for the drilling of oil, officials said.

The Boma State government claimed that the relocation was in the interest of the residents, noting that the exploration of crude oil could cause environmental problems such as the contamination of drinking water sources.

The state headquarters, the government disclosed, would also be moved to Labarat area, where the residents would be relocated.

“When the oil drilling is effected, people will be moved out of the area," a local official, who preferred anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, told The EastAfrican on phone.

Basic services

He said the government was already preparing the new site to ensure the basic services such as roads, water, health and schools before the people moved in.

The official also pointed out that the oil exploration had halted the MSF project of constructing a referral hospital in Pibor town.

“They were actually trying to acquire some land here so that they could put up the hospital. Since the state headquarters is going to move, MSF will also move their site."

Labarat is approximately 90km from Pibor town.

Tax revenues

Although oil finances over 90 percent of South Sudan’s income, the extracting companies have been accused of contaminating water sources and displacing more than 500,000 people in Upper Nile.

A dramatic drop in oil prices in 2014 substantially reduced tax revenues and exports, with growth coming to a halt and inflation accelerating sharply in South Sudan.

President Salva Kiir has on many occasions advocated the diversification of the economy to address vulnerabilities.

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