| PALOCH OILFIELD, South Sudan, March 21
PALOCH OILFIELD, South Sudan, March 21 South
Sudan promised to increase security at oil installations on
Tuesday, days after rebels kidnapped four oil workers including
a Pakistani national in an effort to force foreign companies to
leave the country.
Fighters loyal to former vice president Riek Machar seized
the workers employed by DAR Petroleum Operating Company from
Upper Nile State on Saturday - the second group of oil workers
abducted this month.
Two Indian employees of the Ministry of Petroleum were
kidnapped on March 8 in northeast Maiwut state.
During a visit to Paloch, the country's main oilfield,
Petroleum Minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkout sought to reassure a
gathering of mainly Indian foreign oil workers that security
"We have taken a decision that you are protected one hundred
percent. Don't worry ... you will see a lot of people here with
guns," he said at the plant in Upper Nile.
South Sudan has been mired in civil war since 2013 and the
unrest threatens the plans of the world's youngest country to
more than double crude production to 290,000 barrels per day in
the 2017/2018 fiscal year.
The Dar consortium includes China National Petroleum
Corporation (CNPC), China's Sinopec and Malaysia's
"From today onward, this thing is not going to happen again.
Even if one person is going out for a small operation in the
fields, he will be escorted with 50 soldiers."
The fighting in South Sudan has forced 3 million people to
flee their homes, split much of the population along ethnic
lines and paralysed agriculture, leaving the country facing
famine, according to the United Nations.
(Writing by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Richard Lough)