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South Sudan resume phased oil production in northern region

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudan has resumed oil production in the northern Unity region after disruption by a five-year old conflict which damaged oil wells.

Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, minister of petroleum, revealed on Tuesday that he authorized the first phase resumption of oil production on Dec. 31 in five wells from the 16 wells.

"The initial target of the oil production at Phase One will be 20,000 bpd (barrels per day)," Gatkuoth told journalists in Juba.

He disclosed that they will launch full resumption plan in Unity oilfields together with Azhari A. Abdallah, Sudan’s minister of petroleum and minerals on Jan. 21.

South Sudan since last year worked on renovating its 48 MW power plant to boost oil production at Tharjiath oil field from 14,000 bpd to 40,000 bpd in the northern Unity region.

South Sudan prior to outbreak of conflict in December 2013, produced some 350,000 bpd before it declined to less than 160,000 bpd due to devastation caused by conflict on the oil fields.

The country depends on oil production to finance about 98 percent of its fiscal expenditure despite ongoing efforts to increase its share of the non-oil revenue.

South Sudan has suffered from a civil war since December 2013, which led to the death of thousands and the displacement of about 4 million others.


South Sudan President Salva Kiir pardons 48 prisoners

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudan President Salva Kiir has pardoned 48 prisoners from six prisons across the country in a presidential decree issued over the weekend as gesture to usher in New Year.

Anthony Oliver Legge, spokesperson for the National Prisons Service, told Xinhua on Monday that among those who benefited from the presidential pardon include a juvenile.

"There is a Republic Order of the New Year 2019 which orders for the release of 48 inmates from six prisons across the country," said Legge in Juba.

He disclosed that those released include 10 prisoners from Wau prison, Juba 11, Torit 8, Turalei 4 and Kuacjok 15 prisoners respectively.

Legge confirmed that the presidential pardon was issued on Sunday by President Kiir in his first decree of the New Year.

He also said that some of those released attended vocational training which will help them to integrate into the public.

Legge said that their idea in the prison service is not just to jail the inmates, but to ensure they reform.

"I think a big number of them have benefited from training at the vocational centers within the prisons," he said, adding that the skills acquired will help sustain them upon release.

He added that they will cooperate with the Judiciary to speed up trials of those on remand without trial.

South Sudan prisons are grappling with congestion amid case backlogs in the judiciary due to a few qualified judges, leaving so many inmates on remand for several years without trial.

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.

President Salva Kiir, his former deputy and arch rival Riek Machar and several opposition groups in September signed a new power-sharing deal in the Ethiopian capital aimed at ending the five-year old conflict.

South Sudan starts registration of foreigners to curb crime

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudan government said on Monday it has started registration of all foreign nationals living in the country in a bid to deter cross-border crime.

John Akot Maluth, head of Nationality and Immigration department in the Ministry of Interior, said they will screen and register foreigners to curb illegal immigrants in a period of three months.

"We are asking foreigners to come to the designated centers for screening," said Maluth at a press conference in Juba.

He disclosed that foreigners with legal documents will be pardoned and those without will be documented.

South Sudan shares border with neighboring countries including Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and DR Congo.

Over two million South Sudanese are living as refugees in these countries and others have been displaced since conflict erupted in the East African country in December 2013.

South Sudan warring parties signed the revitalized peace agreement in September which has ushered in normalcy and fresh hope of peace.



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