South Sudan

An independent nation as of 9 July 2011, South Sudan was the location of much of the fighting during the second Sudanese civil war (1983–2005), which pitted a coalition of Sudanese armed forces, paramilitaries, and non-state armed groups against the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). Both sides armed Southern tribal militias, and the rebellion split numerous times, with some factions returning to the government only to rebel once again. In the latter phases of the war, much of the conflict was intra-Southern, with the pro-government fighting conducted by a patchwork of Khartoum-supported Southern commanders and militias.

Following the SPLA’s victory, South Sudan President Salva Kiir attempted to persuade enemy militia commanders and their forces to integrate with the Southern army. Many commanders took advantage of the generous package offered during the six-year interim period established by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Juba Declaration, but then rebelled against the Southern government, as the official date of independence grew closer.

As of 2012, the SPLA continues to try to contain a number of militia in Unity and Upper Nile states, while working to integrate the forces of other commanders who have integrated or died. It is also combating the Lord’s Resistance Army, an armed group of Ugandan origin that continues to terrorize parts of South Sudan. In addition, after two years of relative calm, inter-tribal violence has erupted to levels not seen since the civil war. South Sudan’s army continues to be the primary security provider, even as it attempts to manage an enormous and expensive force that remains largely unchanged from the civil war era. The other security organs, including the South Sudan Police Service, remain nascent.

South Sudan also remains embroiled in conflicts along its border with Sudan. Northern-based elements of the SPLM (SPLM-North) are engaged in rebellions in both South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Ties remain strong between Juba and the SPLM-North, and there is evidence that the Southern government has been providing modest support to the rebels.

The HSBA conducts field research on armed groups, armed violence, and arms flows in South Sudan. Please use the navigation bar to the left to find published reports, updates, and other information.