Community violence keeps rising in South Sudan

Members of the Dinka tribe in Rumbek, South Sudan Members of the Dinka tribe in Rumbek, South Sudan Randy Fath on Unsplash

12 October 2021

 Although a peace agreement signed in 2018 ended the civil war, violence driven by community-based militias is on the rise in South Sudan

According to the chairperson of the Commission of Human Rights in South Sudan, Ms. Yasmin Sooka, reporting to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, South Sudan has been plagued by increasing violence since March 2021. A study from the Institute of Security Studies has highlighted different reasons behind this surge in community-level violence. The main cause lies in the internal fracture within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) led by Vice President Machar. After three high-ranking members of the opposition party decided to defect from Machar, troops loyal to the different members began fighting over territorial control. The presence of 83,000 not-affiliated armed men in South Sudan, who were promised employment in the national army after the conclusion of the peace agreement, is also an issue. Finally, elements such as weapons smuggling, structural problems, and a general lack of confidence in the government are all contributing to the deterioration of security in the country.

The peace agreement was signed in 2018, after a 5-years-long brutal civil war between Kiir, the President, supported by the Dinka ethnic group, and Machar, supported by the Nuer ethnic group. All of the groups committed serious violations of international law, by targeting civilians, recruiting children as soldiers, and committing sexual violence. According to a US-funded study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the death toll amounts to 400,000 people. Additionally, 4.3 million people have been displaced, whereas more than 7.2 million are experiencing food insecurity.

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) joined Mrs. Sooka in asking the international community for additional humanitarian appeal and for fighting impunity.


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Author: Martina Apicella; Editor: Aleksandra Krol

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