South Sudan ’s army says it’s confident it can protect the “heart” of the country’s oil production area from rebel attacks. Production in the Paloch area in Melut County, Upper Nile State, is secure, Major General Gregory Vasili, an oil defense force commander, told reporters on a tour organized by South Sudanese authorities yesterday. Upper Nile is producing about 200,000 barrels of oil a day and normally accounts for 80 percent of the country’s oil output, said Paul Adong Deng, managing director of the state-own Nile Petroleum Corp, on the tour. The United Nations estimates that more than 1,000 people have been killed in violence that has spread since fighting on Dec. 15 between soldiers in the presidential guard in the capital, Juba, bringing the country to the edge of civil. President Salva Kiir , an ethnic Dinka, accuses Riek Machar , who is from the Nuer group and […]