South Sudanese Civil WarSouth Sudan became independent from Sudan in 2011. In the six years since, the nation in northeastern Africa has fought to keep the peace, first during an armed conflict with Sudan that ended in 2015, then during a violent civil war which is still going on. These are 10 facts about the South Sudanese civil war that are important to understanding the conflict.

  1. South Sudan is the youngest nation in the world. It declared independence from Sudan in 2011, after a referendum in which 98 percent of people voted for separation from the north.
  2. The South Sudanese civil war began in December 2013, after President Salva Kiir Mayardit accused Vice-President Riek Machar of planning a failed coup.
  3. Kiir is a member of the country’s majority ethnic group, the Dinka. Vice-President Machar is Nuer, the country’s largest-second group.
  4. In 2015, the two sides signed a peace agreement to end the civil war.
  5. Violence broke out again in 2016 when the Liberation Army, loyal to Kiir, fought against Machar’s soldiers.
  6. During the South Sudanese civil war, at least 50,000 people have been killed, more than two million have become refugees in other countries and around five million South Sudanese have faced severe food shortages.
  7. Two million South Sudanese have fled the country because of the civil war. Ethiopia, Uganda and Sudan are the principal nations where the refugees have gone.
  8. 62 percent of all South Sudanese refugees are under 18 years old.
  9. The United Nations projects that six million people, about 50 percent of South Sudan’s population, will be severely food insecure in 2017.
  10. Inside the country, where the South Sudanese civil war still continues, 4.9 million people need urgent food assistance.

Violence persists in the northeastern African nation. The South Sudanese civil war has increased unemployment and famine rates. In addition, nearby countries have opened their borders to the South Sudanese, overcrowding refugee camps and making the delivery of aid harder. However, nonprofit organizations and global institutions, primarily the U.N. Refugee Agency, are working to end the conflict in South Sudan and provide its people with basic need like food and shelter.

Dario Ledesma

Photo: Flickr