The Second Civil War
The war broke out again when an army battalion stationed in Bor rebelled and sought refuge in Ethiopia. Several followed, and the SPLA organized their resistance match from there. The reason for the war resumed was not least the introduction of Shari’a legislation also in the south, as well as a division of South Sudan into three provinces, which in effect meant that the peace agreement of 1972 was broken. The Sudanese regime responded to the rebellion in the south with widespread military attacks, largely targeted at the civilian population, by destroying crops, preventing food supplies, and expelling people from their homes. Combined with drought, including in 1984–1985, this led to widespread drought and social distress in large parts of southern Sudan.
The war in South Sudan was the worst of Africa’s conflicts in the 1980s and 1990s. Both parties were accused of being responsible for gross human rights violations, and both the government and the SPLA are accused of forcibly recruiting soldiers, including children. The war also contributed to hunger disasters in the south of the country, which has been a further cause of around 4.5 million people being internally displaced in the late 1990s; a further one million fled to neighboring countries. It is estimated that around two million people lost their lives as a result of the war, which required large-scale humanitarian efforts. This was significantly prevented by the Sudanese government, and assistance to South Sudan had to be mainly taken from Kenya, including through the UN emergency relief operation Lifeline Sudan.
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The requirement for SPLM/SPLA was from the outset extensive self-government in a united Sudan, or alternatively independence for South Sudan. The SPLA then went further than Anyanya, advocating the liberation of the entire country, for a new Sudan, without discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion or cultural background. In doing so, the movement also brought other groups, including in central and eastern Sudan, into battle against the central power.
The war of liberation was also marked by internal strife in South Sudan, which also resulted in military clashes between different groups, and challenged Garang’s leadership, and his policy of a still united, but secular and democratic Sudan, with equal opportunities for all regions. In 1991, the SPLA was split into two factions, partly along ethnic lines, where the SPLA, led by Garang, stood strongest among the Dinkas, while the outbreaks, led by Riek Machar, secured support among the Nuer; Machar was a supporter of South Sudanese independence. In the same year, the SPLA was weakened by the overthrow of Ethiopia’s military junta; The rebels in Sudan were supported by Ethiopia, but Sudan supported the Eritrean liberation movement that fought against Ethiopia.
The SPLA was weakened until 1997, when the movement again strengthened its military position. Further divisions took place in the 1990s, and some opposition groups, including the South Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM), signed separate peace agreements with the government in 1997. While the South Sudanese factions reached peace agreements between themselves, and much of the internal struggle ended in 1995, the war against the north escalated after the government declared a holy war, jihad, against the rebels in South Sudan in 1995. Despite several offenses, the government forces failed to defeat the SPLA.
A South Sudanese government was established in October 2005, as a transitional arrangement pending a formal clarification on the future of South Sudan. It adopted the Provisional Constitution, which came into force from December. In accordance with the ceasefire agreement, a referendum on the future of South Sudan was held on February 7, 2011. With a turnout of 97.6 percent of voters, the vote gave a 98.8 percent majority for dissolution. South Sudan then became an independent state on July 9, 2011, and joined the UN in September. Sudan accepted the vote and approved the release.
The relationship between the two states equally brought some tension, underlined by the South Sudanese government interrupting talks with Sudan in March, and accused the government of planning a coup in the south. After independence, several unresolved issues remain, including border demarcation and the future of Abyei; the latter situation was further militarized in the summer of 2011 after Sudanese forces occupied the area, and a United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) was deployed. The situation in Abyei is a potential source of conflict between the two Sudan states. In June 2011, the parties agreed to establish a demilitarized zone of ten kilometers depth, on each side of the boundary line, established following mediation from African Union, led by South Africa’s former President Thabo Mbeki.
Several economic issues were also unresolved by the independence, including the distribution of oil revenues and debt, as well as questions of citizenship in respectively. Sudan and South Sudan. At the split, an estimated one-fourth of the old state’s total population in South Sudan ended, accounting for about one-third of the total land area; up to 80 percent of the known oil reserves are found in South Sudan.
Since December 2013, the country has been hit by a civil war triggered by a conflict between President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Vice President Riek Machar.
In 2017, the UN declared famine in South Sudan as a result of the ongoing civil war. The share of the population in crisis is steadily increasing in recent years, reaching more than half of South Sudanese in 2019.
Renewed agreements between Kiir and Machar in December 2019 give hope for improvement in the situation in the crisis-hit country.
According to Countryaah, the population of South Sudan in 2008 was 9,508,253, ranking number 87 in the world. The population growth rate was 4.760% yearly, and the population density was 15.5632 people per km2.