Will South Sudan Ever Achieve Peace?
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Politics and Activism

Will South Sudan Ever Achieve Peace?

In a country dominated by war, peace may not be feasible.

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Will South Sudan Ever Achieve Peace?
VOA News

South Sudan became independent from neighboring Sudan in July of 2011, after more then 20 years of guerrilla warfare, which claimed the lives of at least 1.5 million people and displaced another 4 million. Two years later, in December of 2013, President Salva Kiir gets rid of his cabinet and accuses Vice President Riek Machar of planning a coup, sending the country spiraling into civil war. Over 2 million are displaced by the fighting and famine threatens thousands. Machar eventually flees the country.

The civil war continues for almost two years until President Kiir signs a peace deal with the rebels loyal to Machar in August 2015. In April of this year, Mr Machar returned to South Sudan to reclaim his job as Vice President. His return was believed to be “the end of the war and the return of peace and stability to South Sudan,” according to President Kiir.

This past Friday, July 8th, forces loyal to Vice President Machar say that government forces attacked their positions in the capital, Juba. At least 150 people died in the fighting on Friday before calm was restored on Saturday. A local radio station reported that the death toll may be as high as 270.

It’s hard to say if South Sudan will ever truly achieve peace. There is such a lack of trust between Kiir and Machar: they have committed to peace in the past, only to have both sides break their word and launch offensive attacks on the other. It seems that neither side will acknowledge the pain that they are causing to their people and neither side is willing to stand down.

Millions of South Sudanese have known nothing other than a country at war. When Sudan was united, north-south civil wars lasted from 1955-1971 and again from 1983-2005. After South Sudan became independent, they only maintained peace for two years. War has become a part of their lives in this militarized society.

Not only that, but there is such a pervasive culture of revenge in South Sudan. With that in mind, and the militaristic society in which these people grew up and currently live, it may be difficult for the country to reach a state of peace. Even if this issue between Kiir and Machar does reach some resolution--which, given that neither side is willing to commit to peace long term, is not likely--the mixed tribes that exist in South Sudan and the strong sense of loyalty that the South Sudanese feel towards their own tribe will almost inevitably cause yet another conflict in South Sudan.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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