Internal conflict in South Sudan

This item appears on page 21 of the September 2016 issue.

In South Sudan in July, armed conflict between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to Vice President Riek Machar left at least 272 people dead and threatened to plunge the country into civil war again. 

The clashes began in the capital, Juba, on July 7 when soldiers loyal to Machar opened fire on a checkpoint manned by soldiers loyal to Kiir, killing five. A cease-fire was agreed to by Kiir and Machar on July 11 before Machar left the capital with a contingent of loyal troops. He has refused to return until an international peacekeeping force is present in Juba.

Between December 2013 and August 2015 in South Sudan, a civil war between forces loyal to either Kiir or Machar left more than 10,000 people dead and caused nearly a million people to flee their homes. A peace deal agreed to in August granted Machar the vice-presidency. 

On July 19, against the wishes of the South Sudanese government, the African Union (AU) declared its intent to send a peacekeeping force into South Sudan. A United Nations peacekeeping force is already present, but, unlike the AU force, it does not have the power to intervene.