Richard Nield
Richard Nield
Richard Nield
Richard Nield
Richard Nield

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Escape from Leer and South Sudan civil war

Al Jazeera, 29 December 2015

One woman’s struggle to survive the South Sudan conflict in leaving behind her homeland to seek refuge in Kenya.

Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya Eight months pregnant and fearing for her life, Nyayang Bol Biel gathered up her two young children in the dead of night and prepared to embark on a 500-mile journey that she prayed would save their lives.

Nyayang had already lost many friends and relatives to the war that had raged around her for almost two years.

Now, soldiers were tightening their grip on the marshland in the remote northern area of South Sudan where she and her family were eking out a fragile existence.

As she headed for the safety of Kakuma refugee camp in northwest Kenya, Nyayang left behind her parents, her four sisters and three brothers, knowing that she might never see them again. But she felt that she had no choice.

A year earlier, Nyayang’s hometown of Leer in Unity State had been razed to the ground, forcing her and her community into the bush. Now she was no longer safe even in the swamps. (more…)

Deal or no deal?

Warring parties have signed a peace agreement in South Sudan that paves the way for a transitional government. But key differences between the signatories means there is still no guarantee of a halt in fighting. 

On 26 August, South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, added his signature to a peace agreement signed nine days earlier by his adversaries in the country’s 20-month-long civil war.

The government was under huge pressure to sign: from regional and international mediators; and from a range of foreign powers, some of which had played a role in smoothing the country’s separation from Sudan in July 2011.

As mediators prepared to head to the South Sudanese capital Juba to witness the signing, the US was tabling a draft sanctions resolution at the UN, including an arms embargo and further targeted sanctions on individuals.

In the end, it seems, all this was avoided. But is this the end?

Although Salva signed the peace agreement, his spokesmen made it clear both before and after the signing that he did so with ‘reservations’. In fact, the government went so far as to publish this list of reservations, handing them to negotiators at the time of the signing.

Government officials I’ve spoken to say that it doesn’t matter what was signed in the peace deal; they will only accept a deal that includes their reservations. The US, regional negotiators, and Salva’s counter-signatories have all said that the deal stands as it stands.

Both sides have committed to a ceasefire, which has already been broken. This is to be expected: every other ceasefire since January 2014 has been broken, and even if the two sides are earnest in their orders to stop fighting, neither has complete control of their forces. The involvement and frequent defection of regional warlords also means there are not just two sides to the conflict.

Meanwhile a workshop on transitional security arrangements has begun in Addis Ababa to work out the modalities of the deal. At best, we now have a dialogue that can work towards resolving remaining differences between the two sides, set up a transitional government, bring a reduction in fighting, and resume halted oil production.

On the other hand, the stand-off between adherents to the peace deal as signed on 17 August and 26 August and the government, which insists on the incorporation of its ‘reservations’, could still mean that this deal is never implemented.

South Sudan pushes for oil fields to reopen

African Energy – 11 September 2014

The government of South Sudan is pushing for the restart of production from outlying fields in the critical oil territory in Upper Nile, and is evaluating the resumption of output from shut-down fields in Unity State, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining. Production levels in Upper Nile State are threatened by technical issues with crude dewatering facilities, while the restart of production in Unity State is being hampered by issues over border demarcation with Sudan.

To view this article in full please visit African Energy.

Bouteflika debate consumes Algerian politics

Opponents question the ailing president’s fitness to govern, but critics say the country lacks a credible alternative.

Al Jazeera – 8 August 2014

Last month, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika surpassed the 100-day mark of his term after winning an unprecedented fourth mandate on April 17.

In other parts of the world, the 100-day point presents a convenient time to assess how a leader has fared in the first phase of a new mandate. In Algeria, however, debate remains mired on whether Bouteflika, 77, is fit to rule at all. (more…)

ExxonMobil set to pull out of consortium for South Sudan Block B

African Energy – 7 August 2014

ExxonMobil plans to withdraw from a consortium lined up to explore three oil blocks in South Sudan, according to sources in Juba. The blocks together make up Block B, a 118,000km2 area of Jonglei state divided into three in 2012. (more…)

Algeria looks to develop shale gas sector

New wells could be critical to boosting the country’s standing as an international gas exporter, but challenges persist.

Al Jazeera – 28 July 2014

Algeria has announced plans to drill four shale gas wells by the end of 2014 as it begins assessing the commercial viability of a resource base estimated to be the third-largest in the world.

There are considerable doubts as to whether Algeria can successfully develop a shale gas sector, but it could be critical to maintaining the country’s standing as an international gas exporter. (more…)

The Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan – a documentary film

Following the great success but ultimately frustrating outcome of the Kickstarter campaign for my documentary film last year about the devastating impact that the influx of Syrian refugees is having on impoverished people in Jordan, I’ve set up a fundraising page to help raise the finance necessary to complete and distribute this important film.

Please visit the page at www.thesecondcrisis.com

Erdogan lined up for victory in presidential polls

Frontline Club – 25 July 2014

Turkey’s prime minister Racep Tayyip Erdogan will win next month’s presidential elections and become the country’s first directly elected president, according to a panel of experts assembled at the Frontline Club on 22 July 2014. (more…)


Algeria

President Bouteflika's ailing health has left him confined to a wheelchair
Bouteflika debate consumes Algerian politics

Opponents question the ailing president’s fitness to govern, but critics say the country lacks…

More in Algeria

South Sudan

Nyayang Bol Biel, eight months pregnant, travelled hundreds of miles with her two children to reach the safety of Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya [Richard Nield/Al Jazeera]
Escape from Leer and South Sudan civil war

Al Jazeera, 29 December 2015 One woman’s struggle to survive the South Sudan conflict in leavi…

More in South Sudan

Film

The Second Crisis documentary film about the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis on impoverished people in Jordan
The Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan – a documentary film

Following the great success but ultimately frustrating outcome of the Kickstarter campaign for my do…

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Broadcast

Richard Nield talks on CNBC about South Sudan budget
South Sudan budget sets unrealistic expectations

CNBC – 25 July 2014 This is an interview I did on South Sudan’s unfathomable war budget …

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Business intelligence

Morocco Projects Report 2014
Morocco Projects Market 2014 report published

A comprehensive overview of the fast-emerging Morocco projects market 12 March 2014 The latest in a …

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