South Sudan: The State that Fell Apart in a Week

As the president is from the Dinka tribe and the former vice president is from the rival Lou Nuir tribe, ethnic tensions and mistrust have risen to a new level. The resulting fighting between armed forces loyal to either has resulted in hundreds dead and thousands fleeing to the perceived safety of U.N bases.

The latest violence began after a fight between Dinka and Nuer soldiers in the presidential guard on 15 December, igniting a simmering political power struggle in South Sudan’s ruling party and sparking widespread ethnic killings.

The reverberations of the wave of targeted killings that began in the fledgling capital are being felt throughout the country, where they have sparked revenge attacks and copycat atrocities. Generals who have mutinied have seized the capital of South Sudan’s largest state, Jonglei, and its main oil-producing area, Unity State. Former vice-president Riek Machar threw his support behind the armed opposition and is now its de facto leader. On Sunday a full-scale tank battle was being fought between opposing factions in the South’s army in the far western reaches of oil-rich, swampy Upper Nile.

“It would have been difficult one week ago to imagine that things would unravel to this extent,” said the UN’s head of humanitarian affairs in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer.

The fighting has already claimed thousands, if not tens of thousands, of civilian lives. Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese have fled into the bush or returned to home villages, according to the UN. The official death toll of 500, which corresponds with the number of dead in a single Juba hospital six days ago, is being dismissed by experts. A veteran aid worker, who has been assessing the scale and nature of the killings from sources nationwide, said the real figure was “in the tens of thousands”.

Source: The Guardian

Oil & Chaos: UN wants to double peacekeeping force in South Sudan

The former vice-president of South Sudan – who’s now leading an armed rebellion – has said he may negotiate with the government. That’s according to the U.S. special envoy there, who is working frantically to prevent the country from falling apart, a situation that would harm Washington’s interests. Chaos and bloodletting have spiraled over the past two weeks with inter-ethnic killings, and intense battles for control over oil-rich areas.

Source: RT News

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