Petrol stations run dry in Juba as Sudan oil row bites

Sun Apr 15, 2012 4:12pm GMT
 

By Ulf Laessing

JUBA (Reuters) - Motorists in South Sudan queued for hours on Sunday to try to buy petrol as filling stations ran dry due to a shortage of dollars less than three months after the world's newest nation shut down oil production in a row with Sudan.

Four petrol stations visited by Reuters in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, had run out of petrol while motorists waited in long queues at the few stations that were still open.

"We've run out of fuel," one staff member at a petrol station said, declining to be identified.

"I don't know when new supplies will come and whether we will be able to pay for it."

The dispute over oil payments has stirred serious tensions between the two former civil war foes, escalating into border clashes that risk pushing the two neighbours into a full-blown war.

The Sudanese army said on Saturday it was fighting South Sudan's forces in the disputed Heglig region just a few kilometers (miles) from a key oilfield, although South Sudan denied the claim.

On Sunday, Khartoum warned it would not negotiate with Juba until South Sudan withdrew all its forces from the area. A South Sudanese government spokesman in turn accused the north of bombing Heglig's oil facilities "to rubble".

The fighting is the worst since the south declared its independence in July, and the oil dispute has begun to inflict serious damage on South Sudan's economy.   Continued...

A customer fuels a car in a file photo. Motorists in South Sudan queued for hours on Sunday to try to buy petrol as filling stations ran dry due to a shortage of dollars less than three months after the world's newest nation shut down oil production in a row with Sudan.
  REUTERS/Darren Staples
 
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