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.
What does preventing conflict actually look like? In this video series, Crisis Group's analysts recall their experiences and how their work warned about or helped to prevent crises.
Hostilities between Twic Dinka from Warrap state and Ngok Dinka from disputed Abyei area escalated, leaving scores dead amid retaliatory violence and reported army involvement.
Violence spiked in Abyei area and Warrap state, killing dozens. Border skirmishes 13 Nov erupted between Twic Dinka from Warrap state and Ngok Dinka from disputed Abyei Administrative Area; Abyei officials accused national army, which is prohibited from entering Abyei (a demilitarised zone), of fighting alongside Twic youth, though army denied allegations. Hostilities reportedly left dozens dead. Violence 19 Nov intensified again when armed Twic youths entered several villages in Abyei in attacks, killing at least 27. Head of UN mission in South Sudan, Nicholas Haysom, 23 Nov said recent violence killed at least 75 and urged govt to investigate. Meanwhile, Sudan conflict neared Abyei (see Sudan) and could aggravate tensions between Ngok Dinka and Misseriya communities given latter’s proximity to paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and recruitment campaigns of Sudan’s warring parties.
President Kiir reconstituted key electoral institutions. As 2024 elections inched closer, President Kiir 3 Nov reconstituted National Election Commission (NEC), Political Parties Council and National Constitution Review Commission. Failure to appoint single opposition candidate to NEC leadership, which will play crucial role in conduct of polls, prompted Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) to reject its composition.
South Sudan deployed first Necessary Unified Forces (NUF). After four-year delay, South Sudan 15 Nov deployed first 750 NUF members as stipulated in peace agreement. Deployment sparked controversy as most troops selected are former members of South Sudan People’s Defence Forces, army of governing party; troops were also deployed to Tonga town (Upper Nile state), where hostilities between SPLM-IO and govt-allied Agwalek militia reignited late Oct, raising fears NUF could intervene against SPLA-IO.
In another important development. Security forces 10 Nov increased presence in capital Juba during President Kiir’s trip to Saudi Arabia, triggering rumours of coup attempt; army leadership dismissed Inspector General of National Police Services. President Kiir 27 Nov reshuffled cabinet, replacing Warrap state governor and three national ministers.
The situation is horrendous in South Sudan, and it seems to keep getting worse despite the peace deal.
This week on The Horn, Alan is joined by Edmund Yakani, a leading South Sudanese civil society activist and executive director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, to discuss the state of South Sudan’s peace process and the prospects for elections next year.
In South Sudan, still reeling from civil war, consecutive years of record flooding have pushed hundreds of thousands out of their homes, intensifying competition for resources and contributing to deadly conflict. Donors and aid groups should work with South Sudanese partners to better meet the needs of all.
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.
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.
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.
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