Sudan detains foreigners in disputed area
Published: 28th Apr 2012 19:38:28
Sudanese officials say four foreigners have been detained in the sensitive Heglig oilfield area, scene of recent fighting with South Sudanese forces.
The four - from the UK, Norway, South Africa and South Sudan - were in an armoured vehicle and engaged in "suspicious activities", they said.
The group were flown to the Sudanese capital for "further investigations".
Sudanese TV said they are suspected of aiding South Sudan, a charge rejected by a Southern official.
"That is rubbish and just a lie," said Philip Aguer, South Sudan army spokesman, quoted by Reuters news agency.
A United Nations spokesman in South Sudan told the agency that a staff member was among the group taken to Khartoum.
"We captured them inside Sudan's borders, in the Heglig area, and they were collecting war debris for investigation," Sudan army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad said at Khartoum airport, AFP reported.
All four had military backgrounds, he added.
The men, who were not further identified, were paraded before the press but not allowed to talk.
One man was wearing the T-shirt of Norwegian non-governmental organisation, while another wore one with the logo of a South African demining group, says the BBC's James Copnall in Khartoum.
The British embassy in Khartoum said it was in contact with the Sudanese authorities and was looking into the matter.
South Sudan's ambassador told the BBC he was checking with his government.
Clashes began in April when the Heglig oilfield was occupied by forces from South Sudan.
They left about a week ago, after holding the area for 10 days.
Our correspondent says tension is still extremely high, and Sudan has been accused of carrying out a number of air raids on South Sudan this week. It denies the charges.
South Sudan became independent from Sudan after a civil war that lasted two decades and in which an estimated 1.5 million people were killed.
Both Sudan and the South are reliant on their oil revenues, which account for 98% of South Sudan's budget. But the two countries cannot agree how to divide the oil wealth of the former united state. Some 75% of the oil lies in the South but all the pipelines run north. It is feared that disputes over oil could lead the two neighbours to return to war.
Although they were united for many years, the two Sudans were always very different. The great divide is visible even from space, as this Nasa satellite image shows. The northern states are a blanket of desert, broken only by the fertile Nile corridor. South Sudan is covered by green swathes of grassland, swamps and tropical forest.
Sudan's arid north is mainly home to Arabic-speaking Muslims. But in South Sudan there is no dominant culture. The Dinkas and the Nuers are the largest of more than 200 ethnic groups, each with its own languages and traditional beliefs, alongside Christianity and Islam.
The health inequalities in Sudan are illustrated by infant mortality rates. In South Sudan, one in 10 children die before their first birthday. Whereas in the more developed northern states, such as Gezira and White Nile, half of those children would be expected to survive.
The gulf in water resources between north and south is stark. In Khartoum, River Nile, and Gezira states, two-thirds of people have access to piped drinking water and pit latrines. In the south, boreholes and unprotected wells are the main drinking sources. More than 80% of southerners have no toilet facilities whatsoever.
Throughout the two Sudans, access to primary school education is strongly linked to household earnings. In the poorest parts of the south, less than 1% of children finish primary school. Whereas in the wealthier north, up to 50% of children complete primary level education.
Conflict and poverty are the main causes of food insecurity in both countries. The residents of war-affected Darfur and South Sudan are still greatly dependent on food aid. Far more than in northern states, which tend to be wealthier, more urbanised and less reliant on agriculture.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Sudan detains foreigners in disputed area [Online] (Updated 28th Apr 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1425257/Sudan-detains-foreigners-in-disputed-area [Accessed 9th Mar 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com