Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

14 May 2014

South Sudan - Whose Ceasefire Is It Anyway?

analysis

Last week, to much fanfare, South Sudan's warring leaders agreed to put down their weapons. But the peace hasn't lasted long. Just days later, soldiers and rebels were at each other again, trading attacks in the oil-rich Upper Nile state, and they haven't stopped. So much for that ceasefire. If anything, its failure proves just how difficult it will be to defuse the violence - and, even more disturbingly, that no one really has the authority to do so.

There hasn't been much good news emerging from South Sudan this year. Quite the opposite, in fact, as the new country turns in on itself. A power struggle within the ruling party has exploded into a vicious civil war, characterised by ethnic violence. Millions have been forced from their homes and land, and there is a very real danger of famine in this fertile land. To avert a humanitarian catastrophe, the fighting needs to stop. Soon. Ideally farmers need to get back to their lands before the seasonal rains start in earnest, to plant their crops for the next harvest, or else South Sudan will go hungry.

Last week, there was a glimmer of hope. In Addis Ababa,...

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