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. The new and independent South Sudan slid into ethnic violence. Forces loyal to Kiir a Dinka and the President started fighting with those loyal to Machar. Machar belonged to the Nuer people and was the former vice president in Kiir’s government.
The civil war in Southern Sudan and Peace Efforts
The fighting in South Sudan has since caused the deaths of nearly 400,000 people and displaced millions. Numerous foreign international peace groups have proposed peace deals 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. Kiir and Machar formed a coalition government with Kiir as the head and Machar as his deputy. 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. President Salva Kiir blocked out opposition leaders and former vice president Riek Machar from the government’s decision-making process. In opposition, high-ranking leaders of Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement reported that the first vice president had been put under house arrest. The senior leaders added that president Kiir’s fraction had monopolized government policies, only giving opposition ministers ceremonial roles and excluding them from decision making.
Government officials loyal to President Kiir said the peace efforts have stagnated because of the coronavirus outbreak. But multiple sources within the government and working closely with the President revealed that the denial of execution is a consequence of political disagreements. The peace deal formulated in 2018 required both parties Kirr and Machar, to agree to a cease-fire. But in the past few months, the two have violated the agreement they made.
Political and Security Disputes
Additionally, the training, redeployment, and formation of a unified force called for in the peace agreement have not occurred. Due to this, there has been inaction on the peace that has led to fracturing chains of command in armed groups. This, in turn, has led to some units loyal to Kiir wanting to return to conflict. Some of Machar’s commanders, on the other hand, started defecting with their soldiers to the government side.
So far, the peace efforts’ stagnation has caused political and security disputes within Kiir’s coalition. The disputes have led to conflicts that have led to civilians’ killing and displacement in the eastern Jonglei and Greater Pibor administrative area. Many residents in the region believe that the conflict returned in the region because the political momentum supported by regional mediation that led to Machar’s return eroded. They say this implementation of the coalition agreement cannot occur now, with Machar and his and other opposition leaders silenced completely.