All work has been halted in the oil field where a shooting incident was reported this week an armed group belonging to Misseriya tribe opened fire on workers in a Chinese oil field in South Kordofan’s Balila area on Wednesday.
The incident left a Chinese engineer dead and three other workers injured who were employed in block six of South Kordofan’s oil fields. Work has stopped in the block since Thursday.
The shooting is being viewed as a protest by the local population for losing out on employment opportunities in the oil fields. A witness in the area said two days prior to the shooting, the group burned down trucks, two cars and a drilling machine in Firdaus.
“A Chinese delegate visited the area on Thursday and assembled all the laborers in a safer place. They have also decided to halt all oil excavation work,” a youngster said, while describing the situation on the ground as dangerous and potentially explosive.
Meanwhile, another youth from the region demanded the government to reverse its policy to deny employment opportunities to local residents in the oil fields. “The oil fields, though in the south, are bringing employment opportunities to the people in the north. Thousands of graduates in the region are unemployed. This just brings us back to the circle of injustice,” he said.
Residents of eastern South Kordofan complained on Friday of facing economic blockade in the region. One of the citizens told reporters that some villages in the area were also being denied food by the state government.
“Military intelligence and security services are preventing the entry of basic goods to their areas. We don’t even get basic commodities like sugar, oil, flour, soap and salt since we are accused of being not loyal to the National Congress Party (NCP),” he said.
He also noted that those who are caught with these goods eventually face confiscation and imprisonment. “This shouldn’t continue. We are civilians and not involved in any kind of politics,” he said.