The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) for the first time attacked oil regions in southern Sudan overnight Friday, destroying three wells in the Bantiyo region and killing dozens of government troops, SPLA spokesman Yasser Arman told AFP Saturday.
"SPLA forces for the first time struck at oil production and extraction areas in the Bantiyo region of al-Wihda state in battles that lasted overnight Friday and during the day Saturday," Arman said by telephone from Eritrea.
He said "three camps of government forces and pro-Khartoum militias that guard the oil zones" were destroyed, killing "dozens" of Sudanese army soldiers.
"Three oil wells were destroyed and burned in the Bantiyo region and an oil drill was destroyed in zone 4, located between the towns of Wankai and Mayum, on the road linking Heiglig to Mayum", he added.
He said the SPLA considered oil installations legitimate targets because oil revenues are used to finance the government's campaign against southern separatists, which according to western experts costs one million dollars a day.
"The SPLA reiterates its warning to oil companies operating in these regions that it considers them as military zones and summons them to cease their activity and evacuate their employees", he said.
Sudan has been engulfed in a civil war since 1983 pitting the Arab and Muslim north against the largely Christian and animist south.
Sudan started exporting oil in August 1999, through a pipeline linking Heiglig to the Red Sea terminal of Beshair.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse 2001.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )