War in South Sudan led the UN to declare 100,000 people are suffering famine, with a further 5.5 million at risk. This special briefing urges the country to work harder to establish parameters for a ceasefire. At the same time, humanitarian corridors from Sudan should be kept open and donors must fully fund the UN aid appeal.
Originally published in Daily Monitor
Originally published in Sudan Tribune
President Kiir 9 May replaced ethnic Dinka army chief Paul Malong with ethnic Luo James Ajonga Mawut and 23 May restructured army command. Govt offensive against ethnic Shilluk and Nuer rebels under Johnson Olony, part of Riek Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO), launched late April in former Upper Nile state, forced many rebels to flee to Sudan where authorities disarmed them and treated them as refugees; fighting also caused thousands of civilians to flee including into Sudan. Thousands of Bor Dinka from Jonglei state entered neighbouring Boma state in east early May to pressure ethnic Murle to return abducted children and stolen cattle; fighting lasted almost two weeks. Kiir 22 May declared unilateral ceasefire, launched national dialogue and said Machar, in exile, not welcome back. In accordance with Sudan-S Sudan deal, govt forces late May forced Sudanese rebel faction Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) from S Sudan into Sudan, where SLM-MM fought Sudanese troops (see Sudan).
President Salva Kiir has played a weak hand well since his main rival was forced out of Juba in July. To avoid new flare-ups in South Sudan’s three-year-old civil war, Kiir and regional states should step up their work on a more inclusive transitional government and peace deals with local rebel groups.
The 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan reached a milestone with the formation of a transitional government in Juba in April. Yet fault lines like those in the Equatorias remain outstanding. A committed, inclusive political response is vital to stop low-level conflicts continuing indefinitely.
Talks led by East Africa’s IGAD offer the best chance to end South Sudan’s spreading war. International partners must put aside their disillusionment and rally to the regional body’s new IGAD-PLUS mechanism to help mediators reach a deal.
South Sudan’s Jonglei state is emblematic of the regional, national and local challenges to peace and of the limitations of trying to resolve a conflict by engaging only two of the nearly two-dozen armed groups in the country.
[There is] a much more chaotic situation on the ground [of South Sudan] than, let's say, two years ago, when [there was] one government, one armed opposition.
From the war's outset the UN never tried to maintain a death toll [in South Sudan]. Guesses vary from 50,000 up to 300,000. It demonstrates a shocking lack of humanity that no one has tried to establish the scale of violence.
The over-focus on a new peacekeeping mandate at the expense of political developments in the country [South Sudan] reflects international disunity and a lack of political strategy.
We need some kind of political solution to this conflict, and this resolution doesn’t do that.
It's time for real talk because while the diplomats are playing games, it will be the South Sudanese who are dying
It [South Sudan's peace agreement] halted the fighting, created a framework for reform, transitional justice and elections and prevented regional powers being further sucked into South Sudan's war
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International actors are struggling to respond to the evolving situation in South Sudan, meanwhile regional actors are busy creating facts on the ground.
In this Q&A, senior analyst for South Sudan, Casie Copeland, explains what is behind the fighting in Juba and what can help prevent the conflict spiralling out of control.