The peace surrounding South Sudan’s referendum has been disrupted by intense fighting over the past weeks. Clashes in the region between militia groups and South Sudan government forces have left an estimated 300 dead. Just yesterday, fighting resumed once more. This renewed pattern of violence is a threat to the stability of the new state and a reminder of the challenges South Sudan will continue to face after secession.
In a report released today, “South Sudan’s Militias”, Enough’s Sudan field researcher Mayank Bubna provides an in-depth analysis of the key southern militia leaders, their grievances, and how the Government of South Sudan should address the renewed violence and threats of internal security.
The report, based on extensive interviews conducted in January and February 2011, highlights critical elements for a comprehensive strategy to neutralize militia groups in South Sudan. Among its recommendations are a demonstrated commitment by the SPLM toward inclusive governance, continued government negotiations with militia leaders, the establishment of a more robust disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program for militia members, and a civilian protection strategy by government forces. Bubna writes:
“As the South Sudanese government embarks on a crucial transitional period of state-building, it has an opportunity to address some of the root causes for continued violence in the South, and diminish the divisions and grievances within its populace that motivates its people to take up arms and that are vulnerable to external opportunism. Concrete steps toward good governance, including an inclusive constitutional review and democratic elections, are necessary aspects of reconciliation in the South.”