South Sudan

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.

CrisisWatch South Sudan

Unchanged Situation

Signatories of 2018 peace deal approved roadmap to extend transitional govt’s rule beyond Feb 2023 amid fierce criticism; deadly fighting displaced tens of thousands in Jonglei and Upper Nile states. Signatories of 2018 peace deal 4 Aug signed roadmap further extending transitional period beyond its anticipated Feb 2023 end; extension provides additional 24 months for transitional govt to address outstanding tasks of agreement, with elections to take place in Dec 2024 and transfer of power in Feb 2025. Troika (U.S., UK and Norway) 3 Aug denounced move citing lack of “inclusive consultation” with “all relevant parties”. Non-signatory armed groups, other opposition movements and civil society actors including People’s Coalition for Civil Action 6 Aug created joint platform to oppose transitional govt and “categorically” rejected term extension. Despite criticism, Council of Ministers 5 Aug approved roadmap and submitted it to parliament for approval. Meanwhile, nearly 22,000 troops from former rival groups 30 Aug integrated into unified armed forces; integration of first batch of former rebels originally scheduled to take place in 2019 according to peace deal. Violence continued in Mayom county, Unity state, as nascent rebellion of Gen. Stephen Buay faced security operations along Sudan’s border. Notably, alleged govt forces 7 Aug reportedly executed four of Buay’s men after Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces same day arrested them in Sudan’s al-Fula town and handed them over to South Sudanese authorities. Defence Minister Angelina Teny 9 Aug condemned executions and said investigations were under way. Meanwhile, Kitgwang faction – which broke away from VP Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) – continued to face internal challenges. Kitgwang leader, ethnic Nuer Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, 9 Aug removed ethnic Shilluk Gen. Johnson Olony as his deputy. Clashes between Gatwech- and Olony-aligned groups 14-15 Aug broke out in Tonga town and neighbouring Panyikang county, Upper Nile state. Fighting by 18 Aug spread to Jonglei state as Olony’s reinforcements clashed with SPLM/A-IO in Diel military base (Pigi county), before advancing to New Fangak county. UN humanitarian office 19 Aug reported that fighting had displaced around 27,000 people since 14 Aug.

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In The News

9 Aug 2021
There is still no sign of a broader reset in South Sudanese politics [...] instead, the divisions just keep mounting. New York Times

Alan Boswell

Project Director, Horn of Africa
9 Jul 2021
[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... Al Jazeera

Alan Boswell

Project Director, Horn of Africa
13 Aug 2020
Disarmament in South Sudan resembles an abusive counterinsurgency operation, not an orderly collection of arms, which the local militias often resist giving up. The New York Times

Alan Boswell

Project Director, Horn of Africa
8 May 2020
The disagreement between Kiir and Machar has endangered the gains made toward a lasting peace. Reuters

Alan Boswell

Project Director, Horn of Africa
20 Feb 2020
"[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... Reuters

Alan Boswell

Project Director, Horn of Africa
16 Feb 2020
[In South Sudan] the dispute over the configuration of states became a major impasse blocking the peace process from moving towards a unity government. Al Jazeera

Alan Boswell

Project Director, Horn of Africa

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Alan Boswell

Project Director, Horn of Africa
Alan Boswell