A small team of Indian diplomats is working overtime to ensure the safety of 150-odd Indian expatriates in south Sudan where inter-ethnic violence has resulted in a worrying security situation.

The team of Indian Ambassador Pramod Bajaj and two diplomats along with a handful of locally employed staff are trying to keep in touch with the Indians serving in scattered locations as well as their employers as security deteriorates in the region.

Thus a total of 100-150 Indian nationals remain in south Sudan and all were advised to leave using commercial flights , said officials here.

“Our envoy Pramod Bajaj and his team have been toiling to ensure the safety and security of Indian nationals in south Sudan,’’ pointed out a Ministry of External Affairs official.

Mr. Bajaj had just come off from a high pressure posting in New York where he was Devyani Khobragade’s predecessor as Deputy Consulate General.

There are about 68 Indians in oil fields in Upper Nile State (Phalouge and adjoining areas) among a total of 525 expatriates including Chinese, Malaysian, Pakistani, Syrian and Lebanese nationals.

Their contracting company Dar Petroleum has assured their evacuation in case of deterioration of security situation in the state. Evacuation of all foreign employees would badly affect oil production from these fields (currently producing about 130,000 barrels a day) and may result in shut down.

There are 17 Indians working for an Indian borehole company at Wau (Western Bahr El Ghazal State). The company had conveyed that its employees would like to stay on and security situation is normal.

Five Indians, who were stranded in Bor (Jonglei State) and had taken shelter in a UNMISS (United Nations Mission in South Sudan) compound were evacuated with the assistance of a Commanding Officer of an Indian battalion in Bor by a UN helicopter.