Unity (state)

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Unity (Wahda)

Unity (Arabic: الوحدة; transliterated: al-Wahda) is one of the 26 wilayat or states of Sudan. It has an area of 35,956 km² and an estimated population of approximately 175,000 (2000). Bentiu is the capital of the state. It has nine districts and is the location of some rich oil fields.

While the national government in Khartoum maintains the name Unity, the new autonomous government of South Sudan refers to the state as Western Upper Nile. Prior to an administrative reorganization in 1994, Unity was part of a much large province of Upper Nile.

It was in this state that the first Sudanese oil reserves were found in the 1970s. As a result much of the fighting in the last 20 years of the North-South civil war centered around Western Upper Nile. Many of the international oil companies who engaged in oil exploration in this area contributed to massive displacement of the indigenous population. (See excellent report by Human Rights Watch: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/sudan1103/)

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