Since fighting erupted in Juba in July 2016 and a major rebel faction returned to war, rebel groups have proliferated though conflict is much reduced from its height in 2014. The government’s current strategy can secure Juba but cannot deliver sustainable nationwide peace. Of the millions experiencing hunger due to the conflict’s impact on civilians, the UN declared 100,000 in famine conditions for several months in 2017. Through field-based research and engagement with relevant national, regional and international actors, Crisis Group aims to support humanitarian access and build a new consensus around sustainable peace efforts that address the regionalised nature of the conflict as well as its localised dynamics.
Side deals between President Salva Kiir and renegade opposition leaders jeopardise the 2018 agreement that ended the worst fighting of South Sudan’s civil war. East African mediators should press the principal combatants – Kiir and Riek Machar – to restart talks on the issues that divide them.
Monitoring body confirmed roadmap to extend transitional govt’s rule to 2025; deadly violence persisted, notably in Upper Nile state as fighting erupted at site for displaced persons.
Roadmap to extend transitional period until Feb 2025 confirmed. Members of Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, responsible for tracking implementation of 2018 peace agreement, 1 Sept confirmed extending transitional period beyond anticipated Feb 2023 end until Feb 2025; extension provides additional 24 months for govt to address outstanding tasks of agreement. UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) chief Nicolas Haysom 16 Sept told UN Security Council that next few months will be litmus test for political parties to demonstrate their commitment to roadmap. Meanwhile, nearly 7,000 troops from Bahr el Ghazal region 21 Sept integrated into unified forces, and another 1, 701 troops from Jonglei state capital, Bor, on 27 Sept; creating unified armed forces command remains key provision of 2018 peace agreement.
Violence persisted, notably in Upper Nile state with hundreds reportedly killed. In Upper Nile (north east), fighting continued between breakaway splinter factions of VP Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) after ethnic Nuer Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual removed ethnic Shilluk Gen. Johnson Olony as deputy of his “Kitgwang” faction in Aug. Notably, UN 8 Sept reported that fighting between Gatwech- and Olony-aligned groups had erupted day before near Adidiang island where thousands forced to flee fighting had taken refuge; according to unconfirmed reports, up to 300 people were killed in attacks. In Greater Pibor Administrative Area (east), unknown assailants 13 Sept killed herdsman and stole 21 cattle. In disputed Abyei Administrative Area along border with Sudan, armed youth from Twic country (Warrap state) 25 Sept reportedly attacked Aneet and Agok villages, killing six.
Security situation remained fragile in Unity state, UN called for accountability. Amid persistent high level violence in Unity State, UNMISS and UN Human Rights body 6 Sept released joint report on fighting from 11 Feb to 31 May between forces loyal to President Kiir and elements of SPLM/A-IO loyal to VP Machar in Unity state. Report found that fighting left 173 civilians killed and 45,000 displaced, highlighted need for accountability for abuses to address ongoing conflict.
There is still no sign of a broader reset in South Sudanese politics [...] instead, the divisions just keep mounting.
[South Sudan] is just, unfortunately, in a much worse spot than it was 10 years ago. Whenever I talk with various diplomats from different countries [...] they all fear c...
Disarmament in South Sudan resembles an abusive counterinsurgency operation, not an orderly collection of arms, which the local militias often resist giving up.
The disagreement between Kiir and Machar has endangered the gains made toward a lasting peace.
"[South Sudan president Kiir and former rebel leader Machar] still have much to work through, but Machar was unlikely to extract more significant concessions before formi...
[In South Sudan] the dispute over the configuration of states became a major impasse blocking the peace process from moving towards a unity government.
This week on The Horn, guest host Nicolas Delaunay is joined by Nazanine Moshiri, Crisis Group’s climate & security expert, to discuss the complex, often dangerous relationship between climate stresses and conflict in the Horn and on the continent more broadly.
Originally published in The African Report.
Upon South Sudan’s independence in 2011, many hoped the country’s oil wealth would help build the state and lift citizens out of poverty. Instead, politicians have shunted these revenues toward patronage and personal enrichment, feeding internal conflict. Transparency and accountability are badly needed.
This week on The Horn, Alan Boswell welcomes Dr. Luka Biong Deng Kuol, a South Sudanese former minister and academic, to reflect on South Sudan’s trajectory since achieving independence ten years ago and whether it can still change course toward a more stable future.
The world's youngest country needs an overhaul, Crisis Group Interim Vice President and Africa Program Director Comfort Ero and South Sudan Senior Analyst Alan Boswell write in Foreign Affairs.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to Alan Boswell, senior analyst for South Sudan, for an in-depth look at South Sudanese statehood ten years after independence.