With the referendum of January 9, 2011, the citizens of South Sudan voted for secession from Sudan and for independence. The referendum represented the final act of a conflict whose roots date back to the 1950s, when the Anyanya rebel forces claimed autonomy and greater representation of the southern part of the country, based on the ethnic and cultural diversity between the north, Arab and Muslim, and the south, with a majority of Dinka and Nuer and Christian-animist. The discontent of the South of the country arose from the way in which Sudan was formed, as the British and Egyptian forces did not consult the leaders of the South at the time of the country’s unification. The first Sudanese civil war (1955-72) ended with an extremely fragile peace agreement. In 1983 a group of Southern officers and fighters mutinied, claiming their independence and giving birth to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). The history of South Sudan is intimately linked to the early founders of the SPLA (including John Garang and Salva Kiir Mayardit). The SPLA forces fought a long war against the Sudanese government, which ended only in 2005 with the signing of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (Cpa), through which the SPLM obtained representation in the Sudanese government and established the government of the region. semi-autonomous South Sudan. According to itypeusa, during the years of the second civil war (1983-2005), the SPLA fractured into various currents, including the Spla-Nasir faction led by Riek Machar and Lam Akol, leadership of Garang, considered too close to the Ethiopian and socialist president Mengistu, and therefore unable to obtain the necessary support from the United States. The split of Riek Machar has led to the creation of more movements that have escaped and opposed the mainstream of the SPLA. The new transitional constitution of 2005 established a government of national unity and a semi-autonomous government of South Sudan, providing for elections at all levels and a referendum on the possible secession of South Sudan at the end of the six-year transitional period. On 9 January 2011, South Sudan voted for its independence on the basis of the CPA (the yes to independence won with 98% of the votes cast). Six months later, on 9 July 2011, the 54th African state was born in a ceremony attended by all the leaders of the region, starting with Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. With the birth of the state, the SPLM became the ruling party and Salva Kiir Mayardit, of Dinka ethnicity, was elected president. Riek Machar, of entia nuer, instead obtained the vice-presidency, after being readmitted into the ranks of the SPLA in 2002, following a reconciliation with Garang.
The transition of the SPLM from an armed group to a political party continues to be a major problem in the country. Much of the movement contributed to the formation of the national army, which, with 210,000 units, is one of the most numerous – compared to the number of residents – on the African continent. The political class of South Sudan is extremely influenced by its military past and personalistic relationships that leave little room for democratic openings.
The independence of South Sudan, strongly desired and supported by some international actors, first of all the USA and China (Beijing also played a mediating role between the disputes between Sudan and South Sudan), did not coincide with peace and stabilization. of the territory.
With the separation of South Sudan, Khartoum lost access to most of the oil fields, the proceeds of which were the pillar of the Sudanese economy. The South controls 85% of the extraction areas and for a long time did not recognize the service quota required by Sudan for the use of the refineries and oil pipelines present on its territory. The suspension of oil production in January 2012 in retaliation against Khartoum, which lasted almost ten months, put the government of Omar al-Bashir in more difficulty than that of Kiir, and also showed how interdependent the two states are. An agreement was reached only in April 2013, but other issues remain unresolved.
The dispute over the status of Abyei remains open, an area on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, rich in hydrocarbons and, therefore, disputed. A referendum for the self-determination of the region took place in November 2013, but was subsequently canceled due to the difficulty of calculating with certainty the number of those entitled to vote in a territory characterized by seasonal crossings of nomadic populations. Furthermore, the conflicts of the Blue Nile and South Kordofan remain unresolved, two territories on the borders between Sudan and South Sudan where the SPLM-North and the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (Srf) have been fighting against the Sudanese government since 2011, supported by Juba.
In 2013, Riek Machar, after being ousted from the vice-presidency following a government reshuffle, through which Salva Kiir had rewarded his supporters and marginalized his critics, led the rebellion of some factions of the army, sparking a new civil war and occupying several cities. The extremely bloody conflict has polarized into ethnic divisions, with opposing Dinka and Nuer factions belonging to the national army. The civilian population has been severely affected and the fighting has created one million internal refugees. The country ran into an unprecedented food crisis. The blue helmets, present in South Sudan since its independence within the Unimiss mission, the United Nations mission for South Sudan, have not been able to stop the clashes, and they also suffered severe attacks on their main bases and a refugee camp set up to accommodate internal refugees. In August 2014, after numerous failed attempts, thanks to the mediation of the Igad (Intergovernamental Authority on Development) and other international powers, Kiir and Marchar signed a peace agreement in Addis Ababa, and the United Nations increased the number of troops present in South Sudan with the mandate to protect civilians and prevent the resumption of hostilities. The agreement provides for the organization of new elections, but, far from being final, it is still under negotiation, and further negotiations are taking place with the involvement of Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.