Back in 2011, South Sudan gained independence from neighboring Sudan. This achievement made the country become known for being the world’s youngest nation. Numerous South Sudanese who fought for independence hoped that South Sudan would have peace and stability after the struggle. But in December 2013, the peace efforts fought for in the nation went through the window as the new country slid into ethnic violence. Forces loyal to Kiir a Dinka and the President started fighting with those loyal to Machar, the former vice president in Kiir’s government.
South Sudanese Peace Deals Fall apart.
The fighting in South Sudan has since then caused the deaths of nearly 400,000 people and displaced millions. Numerous attempts at peace have been proposed only to end up failing. One attempt even brokered a deal to have Machar return as vice president in 2016. But the former vice president ended up fleeing South Sudan months later amid fresh fighting. In 2018, another peace deal was put on the table for deliberation. Foreign international groups applied intense pressure to the parties involved in accepting the pact’s conditions. On February 22, the deal seemed to bear fruit as Kiir and Machar formed a coalition government. But peace remained elusive in the world’s youngest nation.
The peace efforts stalled as the coalition government formed in February failed to meet deadlines. Government officials loyal to President Kiir said the peace efforts stagnated because of the coronavirus outbreak. But others said the agreement stalled because of political disagreements between Kiir and Machar. The President blocked out Riek Machar and his associates from making any decision in the peace deal. Some of Machar’s supporters said the President even ordered Machar`s house arrest.
Violence intensifies in South Sudan as Peace Deal falls apart.
Since the peace deal seems to have been a hoax, South Sudan’s violence has continued to increase rapidly. Armed groups in the nation have intensified attacks against helpless civilians. Witnesses say the attackers targeted victims along the ethnic lines, often with government and opposition forces’ support. Hundreds of people have lost their loved ones, and the country expects many other deaths due to the violence. Each day South Sudan has seen hundreds of thousands displaced during the fighting in Jonglei, Greater Pibor, Warrap, and Central Equatoria. Cases of abductions, rape, sexual enslavement. Gang rape of women and girls in these regions has continued to increase. In some instances, women and girls have been forcibly married by the armed fighters.
Experts on the situation in South Sudan say that the scale of violence in the country suggests that the local groups are using newer weapons. This has brought up the notion that state forces or external forces most likely fund and involve themselves in the South Sudan conflict.
During the pursuit of peace, President Kiir and Machar have pushed back deadlines to form a government of national unity together since 2013. This year the two finally sat down together and agreed to another peace deal led by the U.N. But it seems President Kiir disliked the agreement even after accepting it. Since then, he has tried to hide the real decision from the South Sudanese people. The President has chosen to hide behind statements such as lack of funding to implement the deal. He says South Sudan doesn’t have enough money to enforce the agreement on its own while Machar is nowhere to be seen.