The African Gourmet and Chic African Culture

Why do wars occur and recur in South Sudan

The nature of war and conflict has also changed over the years in South Sudan with interstate conflict, that intrastate conflicts and civil wars are common.

War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children. – 39th President of the United States of America, James Earl "Jimmy" Carter Jr., Nobel Lecture, December 10, 2002.

When a complaint concerning a threat to peace is brought up, the first action is usually for the parties to try to reach an agreement by peaceful means. When a dispute leads to fighting, the community's first concern is to bring it to an end as soon as possible. The main strategies for preventing disputes from escalating into conflict, and for preventing the recurrence of conflict, are preventive diplomacy and preventive disarmament.

Preventive diplomacy refers to action taken to prevent disputes from arising or from escalating into conflicts, and to limit the spread of conflicts when they occur. It may take the form of mediation, conciliation or negotiation and through human rights monitoring and security sector reform, to the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants.

The duty to prevent and halt genocide and mass atrocities lies primarily with the community, but the international community has a role that cannot be blocked by the invocation of sovereignty. Control no longer exclusively protects communities from foreign interference; it is a charge of responsibility where communities are accountable for the welfare of their people. This principle is enshrined in article 1 of the Genocide Convention and embodied in the principle of “sovereignty as responsibility” and in the concept of the Responsibility to Protect.

The conflicts of today, while fewer in number, are deeply rooted. For example, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Darfur, and South Sudan today, are in a second or third wave of conflict. And many are complicated by regional dimensions that are key to their solution. Conflicts today are also increasingly intensive, involving determined armed groups with access to sophisticated armaments and techniques.

Civil War in South Sudan Five War African Proverbs.

Don't celebrate war, cry for peace.
Don't celebrate war, cry for peace.

The drums of war are the drums of hunger
The drums of war are the drums of hunger

War has no eyes
War has no eyes

War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children.
Civil War in South Sudan Five War African Proverbs

The peacemaker dies while the fighter survives.
The peacemaker dies while the fighter survives.

Civil War in South Sudan Civilian Losses
In December 2013, following a political struggle between Kiir and Machar that led to Machar's removal as vice president, violence erupted between presidential guard soldiers from the two largest ethnic groups in South Sudan. Soldiers from the Dinka ethnic group aligned with Kiir and those from the Nuer ethnic group supported Machar. In the midst of chaos, Kiir announced that Machar had attempted a coup and violence spread quickly to Jonglei, Upper Nile, and Unity states. Rebel factions seize control of several regional towns, thousands are killed and many more flee. Uganda troops intervene on the government's side.

On April 15, 2014, Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition forces attacked Bentiu town, Unity State. Ghastly massacres of civilians were committed during the attack. Two days later, an angry mob attacked the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan base in Bor town, Jonglei State, where thousands of internally displaced persons were seeking protection.

Around 353 civilians were killed, and at least 250 wounded, in the attacks on Bentiu and Bor. At least 19 civilians were killed at the Bentiu Civil Hospital and approximately 287 civilians were killed in a mosque in the Kalibalek area. The attack on the UNMISS Bor protection of civilians site resulted in at least 47 civilian deaths.

Perpetrators intentionally targeted civilians, often based on ethnicity, nationality, or perceived support for the opposing party to the conflict. In both Bentiu and Bor, attacks took place against protected objects a hospital, a mosque, and a United Nations base which may amount to war crimes.

After over five years of civil war in South Sudan, the year 2018 brought an increase in regional and international pressure on President Salva Kiir and opposition leader and former Vice President Riek Machar to reach an agreement to end the conflict in South Sudan. Since civil war broke out in South Sudan in December 2013, over 400,000 people have been killed and nearly five million people have been internally displaced or fled to neighboring countries.

In August 2018, the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement was signed that included a cease-fire and a pledge to negotiate a power-sharing agreement to end the war. Despite sporadic violations over the ensuing weeks, this agreement was followed by a peace agreement to end the civil war signed by the government and opposition party, along with several other rebel factions.

The agreement, called the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan, included a new power sharing structure and reinstated Machar as vice president. However, continued attacks and violations mark the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement just another failed peace agreement.

In 2018, rapes in Bentiu, South Sudan were a major concern to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan who held urgent meetings with authorities and urged them to take immediate action to protect women and girls in the area and to hold the perpetrators of those terrible crimes to account.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan peacekeepers immediately sent patrols to the area to provide a protective presence and the human rights team launched an investigation to identify the perpetrators as well as clearing foliage from the sides of the road so attackers will find it harder to conceal their presence.

On December 3, 2018, a joint statement by Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, and Natalia Kanem, United Nations Population Fund Executive Director stated "In the past 12 days, more than 150 women and girls have sought assistance after suffering from sexual violence, including rape, near Bentiu in South Sudan. We echo the statement of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for South Sudan condemning these abhorrent attacks.

"The assailants have been described as armed men, many in uniform. We call on the relevant authorities to publicly denounce the attacks and ensure that those responsible for these crimes face justice. All parties to the conflict must uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law and cease attacks on civilians.

"Coming during the international campaign of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, the attacks remind us that a broad pattern of gender-based violence, including sexual violence, has continued in South Sudan. In the first half of 2018, some 2,300 cases of gender-based violence were reported to service providers, the vast majority perpetrated against women and girls. More than 20 percent of survivors who have come forward are children. The actual number of cases is far higher, as gender-based violence continues to be severely under-reported.

"Humanitarian workers are providing critical, life-saving assistance and services to the survivors of the attacks. We call on the authorities to ensure the protection and safety of both civilians and aid workers, to ensure that further such horrendous violations are prevented and that assistance reaches those in need."

Angry words are like a fist but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

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