In early 2017, the government of South Sudan declared that parts of the country had been hit by severe famine. This famine was another sign of the many ways in which a disastrous war was killing people. South Sudan had at that point been in a civil war for three years, with the humanitarian situation steadily deteriorating since war broke out in December 2013. The governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and its army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), had split following a long-brewing political conflict. In the first few days of the war, political rivalry had turned into fierce fighting; killings were targeted along ethnic lines. President Salva Kiir
remained in charge of the government and the national army, while a coalition of military commanders headed by former Vice President Riek Machar became the SPLM-in Opposition (SPLM-iO).
The first scrambled international efforts after fighting started supported a quick, but unsuccessful, ceasefire. After one and a half years of negotiations, and pressure applied by the international community, government and opposition signed the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) in August 2015, which stipulated that the two warring parties would share power in government. What was intended as a peace deal, however, continues to make South Sudan more violent as despite the agreement, violence continues to spread.
Assistant Professor Sociology of Development and Change at Wageningen University, the Netherlands
Ms. de Vries' research focuses on local dynamics of (in)security, transnational security governance in peripheries and at borders, and state-society relations in (post-)conflict settings. She works mostly in South Sudan and the Central African Republic.