Conflict in South Sudan

In late December 2013, following months of deteriorating political relations between the president and opposition members, armed conflict erupted between elements of the presidential guard in Juba. In rapid succession, conflicts erupted in Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile states, with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) splitting its allegiances between the government camp and that of former vice-president Riek Machar, whose forces are known as the SPLM-in Opposition.

The conflict, which has both political and ethnic dimensions, has engulfed areas of Greater Upper Nile in clashes between rebels and army forces, with both sides engaging in the targeting of civilians. Major tows such as Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile, have been burned to the ground, causing hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee and creating a humanitarian emergency.

The conflict has also developed regional proportions, with the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) intervening to provide key military support to the Juba government, in some cases taking the lead in battling rebels. Hopes for a negotiated settlement were low for much of 2015 but revived with the signing of the IGAD-mediated compromise agreement of August 2015.

Click on the links in the right and left navigation bar to read more about the SPLM-in-Opposition, the Conflict in Unity, the Conflict in Upper Nile, and the Conflict in Jonglei.

For a timeline of the current crisis through the end of May 2014, click here.

For an analysis of the crisis in South Sudan as of late May 2014, please click here for part one and part two of an interview with HSBA consultant Joshua Craze. The transcript of the full interview is available here.