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

South Africa’s president brokered talks between Kiir and Machar ahead of December poll, Murle youth from Jonglei State launched well-coordinated deadly attack, and economy worsened.

South African president held high-level political talks in capital Juba. South African President Ramaphosa 16-18 April visited capital Juba to mediate talks between President Kiir and VP Machar. Ramaphosa publicly emphasised need for govt to prepare for Dec elections, though mediation likely sought to broker pre-election deal that could see Machar rejoining Kiir’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)as deputy; rank and file of Kiir and Machar’s parties showed discontent at secrecy of diplomacy amid deep polarisation.

International community reiterated concerns over election preparedness. Political Parties Council and National Election Commission – tasked with organising poll – 4 April received first batch of allocated funding, representing only fraction of requested money, leaving electoral process vastly underfunded. UN Sec-Gen Guterres 8 April transmitted letter to UN Security Council outlining over a dozen outstanding preconditions essential for holding fair election and emphasising urgent need for technical, legal and operational assistance. U.S. 16 April said South Sudan’s politicians so far have “failed to meet the standards necessary for genuine and peaceful elections”. UN Security Council 29 April renewed UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) mandate for one year.

Jonglei state saw worrying uptick in intercommunal violence. In one of the most serious escalations since 2020 war in Jonglei, armed Murle youth from Jonglei State’s Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) 26 April launched well-coordinated and well-armed attack on Toposa cattle keepers in Kapoeta East County (Eastern Equatoria state), killing unknown number and abducting scores of women and children; UNMISS 30 April deployed additional peacekeepers to Jonglei and Kapoeta East county to deter more violence. Meanwhile, former leader of Murle rebel group David Yau Yau 1 April defected from SPLM to join Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in Opposition, raising fears of electoral violence in GPAA, 29 April announced he had returned to SPLM. 

Pipeline rupture hurt economy. Main pipeline exporting South Sudan’s oil remained in disrepair, plunging country further into economic and fiscal crisis; Juba 25 April claimed oil exports through pipeline would resume within two months.

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In The News

3 Февр. 2023
The situation is horrendous in South Sudan, and it seems to keep getting worse despite the peace deal. Washington Post

Alan Boswell

Project Director, Horn of Africa

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Alan Boswell

Project Director, Horn of Africa
Alan Boswell
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Daniel Akech

Senior Analyst, South Sudan
Daniel Akech

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