On 9th July 2011, southern region of Sudan became a sovereign country right after 99% of its citizens voted for the formation of an independent nation. However this split did not end the turmoil and fighting continued between the both sides over sharing of oil profits. While most of the oil pipeline in Sudan, South Sudan has majority of crude oil production.
The matter became more complicated when Sudanese citizens living in the Nuba Mountains near to the Sudan border who once were strong allies of South Sudan prior to its succession, rebelled. In the beginning it was thought that South Sudanese were supplying with money and arms against their counterpart. While as the years passed it was clear that Sudanese government were funding them for years to kill and disrupt lives of people living in South Sudan and an effort to mock the South Sudanese army. Another dispute revolves around the city of Abyei, which has yet to decide whether to join South Sudan or Sudan. Both the nations claim ownership on land and cultivated fields.
After months of discussion and no concrete outcome in sight, South Sudanese government stopped the production of oil fields. As a result it did not only damaged both the nation’s economy but also escalated already deteriorated situation on the border. Many experts believed that this escalation would soon take the form of fully fledged war, engulfing the entire Eastern Africa. Fighting intensified in the region of Heglig, one of the last oil field in Sudan and in April South Sudan seized Heglig.
The fighting forced people out of their homes and many shelter in the refugee camps nearby. According to an April 2012 report of UNHCR, there were almost 162,000 refugees in South Sudan and Ethiopia alone. Most of the refugees were women and children, who were severely malnourished while many were prone to death. The inadequate supply of clean water has made these refugee populations vulnerable, as poor international and relief aid.
However after decades of fighting in the regions in and around Darfur, situation has been quite stable and people were able to return home. Although, there are some areas still prone to violence. Not long ago armed rebels raided a camp, Kassab and began looting, burning, massacring the camp’s inhabitants’. The United Nations condemned this attack and reported that this raid was the worst violent incident in the region.
Overall, this succession of South Sudan added fuel to an already burning situation. This ongoing border situation plus the ongoing fights for oil fields created massive instability in the region, creating a crisis for the refugee population, struggling for proper nutrition and access to clean water.
The Comprehensive Peace Treaty of 2005 ended this 21 year old long violence allowing thousands to return home. However the situation weakened infrastructure, social services, and security forces in the underdeveloped South Sudan. In an effort to resolve the conflict over oil profits, the two nations reportedly signed a deal over oil pipeline on August 2012, although it is unclear how much South Sudan agreed to pay Sudan per barrel.
In order to maintain peace, Sudan and South Sudan must make progress towards fair agreements on oil profits, stopping violence, addressing properly to the needs of refugees. The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton visited Juba, capital of South Sudan on June 2012 and indicated that the nation should pay more than it carried per barrel. Hence international involvement is necessary to resolve the economic and political issues, as well as continued aid to the internal displaced personals and refugees.
Original Photo Credits: Nader Besheir via Compfight cc & https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/od.html Featured Photo Credit: http://tinyurl.com/nuwqozd Reading Links: http://www.hrw.org/africa/south-sudan
Anant Mishra is former youth representative United Nations. Almost 4 years, he has served in number of committees including United Nations Conference for Trade and Development and United Nations General Assembly primarily focusing on international trade, middle east crisis, education, finance, economics. He can be reached on [email protected]
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