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As South Sudan turns nine: elusive quest for peace amid bloodshed | Africanews

South Sudan marks its ninth independence anniversary. Looking back at a historic moment when the country became Africa and the world’s youngest nation. The country had in effect around since the original creation of Sudan, one of Africa’s largest countries in 1956.

Nine years on, the cry for durable peace, stability and development remains concrete challenges.

The war ended after the Sudanese government and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, paving way for the referendum through which the southerners voted for secession on January 9th, 2011.

On the 9th of July 2011, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan after the two decades of earth – scorched civil war which culminated in the 2005 agreement which ended Africa’s longest civil war. The hostilities claimed the lives of 2.5 million people with four million displaced.

Happy Independence Day to South Sudan!

Here’s a clip of the independence celebrations in Juba, 9 July 2011. At the end of the clip Salva Kir takes the oath to become the country’s first president.

From Reuters.— Derek R Peterson (Unseen_Archive) July 9, 2020

At the time, the US–backed secession was hailed as a way forward to peace and stability but it did not end the plight of the South Sudanese.

Nine years on, conflict is still a fact of life in many parts of the country, as the previous fighting between Khartoum and Juba gave way to infighting among the South Sudanese.

Civil war broke out in 2013, when President Salva Kiir fell out with his first vice-president and ex – rebel leader, Riek Machar, who he accused of attempting a coup.

The two leaders represent South Sudan’s largest ethnic groups. Their [Nuer and Dinka] provoked a largely ethnic conflict that killed an estimated 380,000 people and uprooted 4 million people from their homes over five years.

Although a peace deal was signed in August 2018 between president Kiir and Machar’s SPLM-IO (IO means ‘In Opposition’); the ceasefire was partially held but bloodshed and instability persisted plus stalling of the peace process.

The UN Mission in South Sudan allegedly recorded 415 violent incidents in the first five months of 2020 alone.

Armed conflict continues between the government and non-signatories to the peace agreement in some areas, while in others, inter-communal violence fueled by competition over resources, easy access to arms and weak rule of law is on the rise.

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President Salva Kiir, in his keynote speech for ninth anniversary, said previous independence days weren’t celebrated due to the political violence but this year, public’s celebration has been affected by the COVID – 19 pandemic.

The president admitted that the permanent ceasefire is largely holding while interrupted b

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