The nation of South Sudan has come into existence with many unresolved issues threatening the stability of the new state. One of the greatest of these is the continued activity of seven South Sudan rebel militias, in addition to the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA.
In his latest field dispatch, Enough Sudan researcher Nenad Marinkovic reports on local allegations that Khartoum is backing rebel militias in an effort to destabilize South Sudan. Additonally, Marinkovic consults with experts on the motivations behind South Sudan militia leaders, and briefly assesses existing rebel militia threats to the SPLA.
Despite recent developments, the “militia menace” in South Sudan is expected to persist. He writes:
Although Kiir’s amnesty offer, Gadet’s defection, and the death of Gatluak Gai may temporarily ease the security concerns around militia activity, the outstanding armed groups, as well as the often abusive and disproportionate military response to them by the SPLA, continue to pose a critical issue for the nascent state of South Sudan.
Moving forward, “How the SPLA responds to militias will prove critical, as military campaigns that commit human rights violations and target civilian populations are likely to worsen the underlying grievances between the Government of South Sudan and its people,” Marinkovic cautions.
Read the full field dispatch, “The Challenge of Tackling Terrorism in South Sudan”
Photo: SPLA soldiers in the back of a truck (Tim Freccia / Enough Project)