Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Southern Sudan at odds with itself: dynamics of conflict and predicaments of peace

By Mareike Schomerus and Tim Allen


This research was commissioned by Pact Sudan through the UK Department for International Development (DfID). The objective of the report was to provide evidence to inform key actors in Southern Sudan in consulting Southern Sudan's citizens and in designing, implementing and prioritising policies and activities that support peace and stability. Three research teams spent a month gathering data in Eastern Equatoria, Upper Nile and Greater Bahr el-Ghazal, returning to Sudan during the 2010 elections. They conducted over 300 interviews, administered questionnaires, held drawing competitions in schools and ran participatory exercises with women, youths and elders. They found that despite great achievements, neither the Government of Southern Sudan nor the international agencies working there have achieved what they set out to do during the Interim Period. Accountable government structures on all levels, reliable service delivery, civic education, security and a coordinated effort among development agencies remain elusive goals

Topics: U Military Science (General), DT Africa
Publisher: Development Studies Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online

Suggested articles


  1. (2009). (UN-Habitat supported by UNDP) Mapping/ Capacity Assessment of Local Organizations involved in Community Driven Development/Recovery (CDD/CDR) Mapping in Southern Sudan,
  2. 15 explain that this was an isolated incident; the Buya who raided was a revenge for his wife being raped by a Toposa.
  3. (2009). 17 chiefs from Wau and surrounding areas.
  4. (2000). A History of the Sudan: From the coming of Islam to the present day. (Harlo: Longman, doi
  5. A key issue of the CPA is the lack of clarity on the borders along the three areas (cf.
  6. (2010). A recent report covering similar issues is Emile LeBrun and Claire McEvoy. ‘Uncertain Future: Armed Violence in Southern Sudan’. (Geneva: The Small Arms Survey:
  7. (1964). A tribal history of the Western Bahr el Ghazal. doi
  8. (2006). A vast body of literature and coverage exists on this issue, some examples are
  9. (2002). Aid and complicity: the case of war-displaced Southerners in the Northern Sudan’, doi
  10. As a UN/NGO initiative, this was not initially welcomed by GoSS.
  11. as one of numerous articles outlining the need for decentralising the south.
  12. (2010). Associate Parliamentary Group for Sudan. UK Parliament. ‘On the brink: Towards lasting peace in Sudan/A report on the role of the international community in supporting Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement and beyond’.
  13. At the same time, respondents in Raja also stated that Tom Anour was still recruiting in 2008, including organising weapons drops in Mangayat. Interview with Peace-building Officer/INGO (name and title withheld). Aweil Town:
  14. (2009). at the University of Western Bahr el-Ghazal.
  15. Bahr el-Ghazal, the majority of fieldwork was conducted in Western Bahr el-Ghazal, with some work in Northern Bahr el-Ghazal and Warrap. doi
  16. (2009). Bei residents.
  17. being a nationally organised group, the criminal gangs operating in Juba, Wau and Torit are very different from the small group of young people in Korgana, who in fact asked the interviewer if they had any tips on how to become better Niggaz and Outlaws.
  18. (1999). Border area that defies security,’ The Nation
  19. Both the Small Arms Survey and Safer World have published extensive research about the availability and origins of small arms in southern Sudan.
  20. (1996). Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of late Colonialism, doi
  21. Clashes in South Sudan no longer inter-ethnic conflict,’ The Nation,
  22. (2009). community leaders and teachers,
  23. (2009). community leaders. Narus,
  24. (2009). Conciliation Resources. ‘After Operation Lightning Thunder: Protecting communities and building peace’.
  25. (2008). Conciliation Resources. ‘Perilous border: Sudanese communities affected by conflict on the Sudan/Uganda border’.
  26. (2009). Conference ‘Bridging the governance gap between Monyomiji and Government’.
  27. (2009). Correction services official (name and title withheld).
  28. (2010). Cumulative figure of persons killed during conflict incidents in 2010 by county.’
  29. (1956). Dak, ‘Sudan’s
  30. (2009). Didinga community leaders in
  31. (2010). Domestic Election Monitoring and Observation Programme (SuDEMOP), and African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, ‘Open Letter: Sudanese Civil Society Leaders Urge African Union and
  32. (2002). Duffield’s argument is important here. He describes the process of the undermining of Southerner’s positions in the north by successive post-colonial regimes as parallel with the erosion of the Fellata’s political status.
  33. Education, Religion and Politics in doi
  34. (2009). Elders, Administrators and Court Personnel. Mapel/ Jur River County/Western Bahr el-Ghazal:
  35. (2009). Email communication with Professor Eisei Kurimoto,
  36. (1994). Ethnicity and Tribalism on the Sudan-Uganda Border,’
  37. (2004). example, Ahmad Ibrahim AbouShouk and Anders Bjorkelo, The Principles of Native Administration in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, 1898-1956. (Omdurman/ Bergen: Abdel Karim Mirghani Cultural Center/Center for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies,
  38. (1998). Famine and human rights: HRW background paper on the doi
  39. Focus group boma ‘chiefs’.
  40. Focus group discussion with focus gropu doi
  41. Focus group discussion with focus group doi
  42. (2009). Focus group discussion with Focus group 11: Chiefs, Elders, Administrators and Court Personnel.
  43. (2009). Focus group discussion with focus group 14: women’s group. doi
  44. Focus group discussion with focus group 15: ‘chiefs’. doi
  45. (2009). Focus group discussion with Focus Group 2: SPLM officials (names withheld).
  46. (2009). Focus group discussion with focus group 25: Dinka Gok youth at cattle camp. Cueibet, Cueibet County,
  47. (2009). Focus group discussion with focus group 27, Dolieb Hills, Upper Nile state,
  48. (2009). Focus group discussion with focus group 27, Fangak, Upper Nile state, 5
  49. Focus group discussion with Focus group 31: women from Mapel. Mapel, Jur River County,
  50. (2009). Focus group discussion with focus group 32: community leaders. doi
  51. (2009). Focus group discussion with focus group 39: youth leaders (four men and two women). Raja Town, Raja County,
  52. (2009). Focus group discussion with focus group 48: youth leaders. doi
  53. (2009). Focus group discussion with focus group 7: main chief, Bai chief, Shat chief, and head of parent-teacher council. Korgana, Wau County,
  54. (2009). Focus group discussion with focus group 8: youth doi
  55. (2009). Focus group discussion with sub-’chiefs’ and youth Tharkueng, Jur River County,
  56. Focus group discussion with women’s group. Marial Bei,
  57. (2009). Focus group discussion with women’s group. Raja Town, Raja County,
  58. (2009). Focus group discussion with youth (four men and two women). Raja Town, Raja County,
  59. (2009). Focus group discussion with youth leaders (four men and two women). Raga Town, Raga County,
  60. (2009). Focus group discussion. doi
  61. (2009). Focus group with focus group 41: Peace Committee. Iboni:
  62. Focus group with youth. Atar,
  63. For a detailed and insightful discussion of the types of issues this can create see Cherry Leonardi, ‘Violence, Sacrifice and Chiefship in Central Equatoria, doi
  64. For a further discussion, see Barbara Harrell-Bond, Imposing Aid: Emergency Assistance to Refugees. doi
  65. (1983). For a history of the changing authority and importance of local government, see M.W. Norris, ‘Local Government and decentralization
  66. (2008). For a more detailed discussion on challenges in transforming the SPLA/M into a political party, see Jack V Kalpakian, ‘The narrow prospects of the SPLA/M’s transition into a political party in the short term.’ doi
  67. (1991). For a more detailed history, see MW Daly, Imperial Sudan: The Anglo-Egyptian Condominium, 1934-1956. (Cambridge: doi
  68. (2009). For an analysis of police reform in Southern Sudan see: Alfred Sebit Lokuji, Abraham Sewonet Abatneh, and Chaplain Kenyi. Wani. North-South Institute. ‘Police Reform in Southern Sudan – Measuring the public’s sense of security’.
  69. (2004). For discussion of these early years of the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium, see Douglas Johnson, The Root Causes of Sudan’s Civil Wars, James Currey,
  70. (1997). For more details on Nuer prophecies, see Douglas Johnson, Nuer Prophets: A History of Prophecy from the Upper Nile in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. doi
  71. (1992). found that raided cattle were not considered suitable for dowries among the Nuer during research
  72. Full circle? An Overview of Sudan’s southern problems since independence.’
  73. (2009). Funding mechanisms in Southern Sudan:
  74. (1991). Gauging Fear and Insecurity: Perspectives on Armed Violence in Eastern Equatoria and Turkana North’. Geneva: Small Arms Survey,
  75. (1978). Ghost Marriage and the Cattle Trade among the Atuot of the Southern Sudan.’ doi
  76. (2005). Grounding local peace organisations: a case study of southern Sudan.’ doi
  77. (1983). Haven/ London: doi
  78. Hundreds welcome prophet’s rod in South Sudan’
  79. (2006). Idris,
  80. In respect of the Southern Sudan, there shall be a Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), as per the borders of 1/1/56’ (CPA,
  81. INGO employee in report feedback session. Details and date withheld.
  82. (2009). Institute for Peace. ‘Building blocks for citizenship and a peaceful transition in Sudan’.
  83. (2009). Interview with Commissioner East Kapoeta. Narus,
  84. Interview with Correction services official (name and title withheld).
  85. Interview with Deputy Governor Josephine Moses Lado. Aweil Town,
  86. (2009). Interview with government officials and local sources ,
  87. (2009). Interview with Governor of Western Bahr el-Ghazal State.
  88. (2009). Interview with Imam (name and mosque withheld).
  89. (2009). Interview with Local Peace Commission Official.
  90. (2009). Interview with local priest (name and church withheld).
  91. (2009). Interview with Mathew Mawien Akon, Director for Linguistics (Ministry of Education, Western Bahr el-Ghazal State). Wau Town,
  92. (2009). Interview with resondent 67: UN staff.
  93. (2009). Interview with Respondent 1: Coordinator of local NGO (name withheld).
  94. (2009). Interview with respondent 11: local government official, Kodok,
  95. (2009). Interview with respondent 12, coordinator of INGO (name and title withheld).
  96. (2009). Interview with Respondent 12: Programme Officer/INGO (name and title withheld).
  97. (2009). Interview with respondent 12: RRP coordinator of INGO (name and title withheld).
  98. (2009). Interview with respondent 13, donor Democracy and Governance Officer (name and title withheld).
  99. (2009). Interview with Respondent 14: Programme Manager of INGO (name withheld).
  100. (2009). Interview with respondent 15: chairman of youth.
  101. Interview with respondent 16: Assistant Pastor Inland Church and Civic Educator.
  102. Interview with respondent 17, Governor of EES.
  103. (2009). Interview with respondent 18, former SPLA soldier.
  104. Interview with respondent 19: SSPC Official. Name, location and date withheld.
  105. (2009). Interview with Respondent 2: Director of the Toposa Development Association. Narus:
  106. (2009). Interview with respondent 21: Diocese of Torit staff. Narus,
  107. (2009). Interview with respondent 22: EES SSPC staff.
  108. (2009). Interview with respondent 23: SPLM staff.
  109. (2009). Interview with respondent 25: Bari chief.
  110. Interview with respondent 25: Bari chief. Kit,
  111. (2009). Interview with respondent 26: Acholi chief.
  112. (2009). Interview with respondent 26: Acholi chief. Ayii/Kit
  113. (2009). Interview with respondent 27: payam administrator. Kodok, Upper Nile:
  114. (2009). Interview with respondent 29: Payam Administrator.
  115. (2009). Interview with respondent 3: Fertit elder (name withheld).
  116. (2009). Interview with respondent 30: Acting Paramount Chief.
  117. (2009). Interview with respondent 35: veterinary officer (name withheld). Cueibet, Cuebeit County,
  118. (2009). Interview with respondent 36: county officials,
  119. (2009). Interview with respondent 37: government official, Melut, Upper Nile,
  120. (2009). Interview with respondent 38: of civil affairs representative in UNMIS (name and title withheld).
  121. (2009). Interview with respondent 39: SSRRC official (name and title withheld).
  122. (2009). Interview with Respondent 4: UN officer (name, title and location withheld).
  123. (2009). Interview with respondent 40: priest.
  124. (2009). Interview with respondent 41: SPLA commander.
  125. (2009). Interview with respondent 42:
  126. (2009). Interview with respondent 43: NGO worker (name withheld).
  127. (2009). Interview with respondent 44: UN field security Officer.
  128. (2009). Interview with respondent 46: SSRRC Field Officer. Upper Nile: 6
  129. (2009). Interview with respondent 47: local priest (name and church withheld). Raja Town:
  130. (2009). Interview with respondent 48: UN staff.
  131. (2009). Interview with Respondent 49: Correction services official (name and title withheld).
  132. (2009). Interview with respondent 5: Madi Elder. Nimule,
  133. (2009). Interview with respondent 50: Imam (name and mosque withheld).
  134. (2009). Interview with respondent 50: Reverend of Diocese of Torit.
  135. (2009). Interview with respondent 51: Chairperson of a Youth Peace-building Association. Aweil Town, Northern Bahr elGhazal: 5
  136. (2009). Interview with respondent 51: donor Democracy and Governance Officer (name and title withheld).
  137. (2009). Interview with respondent 53: Peacebuilding Officer/ INGO (name and title withheld). Aweil Town: 5
  138. Interview with respondent 54: Commissioner Aweil North. Gok Machar:
  139. (2009). Interview with respondent 55: INGO Country Director (name and title withheld).
  140. (2009). Interview with respondent 56: local man.
  141. (2009). Interview with respondent 57: Toposa Development Association Financial Advisor.
  142. (2009). Interview with respondent 59: international donor representative (name withheld).
  143. (2009). Interview with respondent 6: Woman leader (name withheld).
  144. Interview with respondent 60: advisor to Civil Affairs UNIMIS,.Torit:
  145. Interview with respondent 61: Speaker of the EES Interim Legislative Assembly.
  146. (2009). Interview with respondent 63: INGO Program Coordinator
  147. (2009). Interview with respondent 65: Local SPLM representative.
  148. (2009). Interview with respondent 66: local elder (name withheld).
  149. (2009). Interview with respondent 68: NGO representative.
  150. (2009). Interview with Respondent 7: Deputy Coordinator local peace-building NGO [name withheld].
  151. (2009). Interview with Respondent 70: Country Director/ Medical INGO (name and title withheld).
  152. Interview with respondent 71: INGO.
  153. (2009). Interview with Respondent 72: Field Coordination/ INGO (name and title withheld).
  154. (2009). Interview with respondent 73: Donor Coordinator/ Programme Manager (name and title withheld).
  155. Interview with respondent 9, Member of Council of Elders (name withheld),
  156. (2009). Interview with Respondents 58: Secretary General and Chairperson of local peacebuilding association. Aweil Town, Northern Bahr el-Ghazal: 5
  157. (2009). Interview with rspondent 64: INGO staff.
  158. (2009). Interview with SPLM officials (names withheld),
  159. (2009). Interview with UN officer (name and title withheld). Raja Town:
  160. (2009). Interview with UNMIS official (name withheld).
  161. it was reported that currently the SPLM’s support was diminishing and that this made a clear vote for secession less likely.
  162. (2009). Jur River County,
  163. (2009). local elder (name withheld). Bisselia,
  164. (1989). Media policy, peace and state reconstruction’. In Media & Glocal Change: Rethinking Communication for Development, edited by Oscar Hemer
  165. (2009). Melut County, Upper Nile state,
  166. (1930). Memorandum on Southern Policy’, Civil Secretary’s Office,
  167. (2009). NCP chairman Raja County. Raja Town:
  168. NGO respondents felt that with limited funding to Southern Sudan, NGOs needed to compete for funding which meant that they often worked in silos and lacked coordination.
  169. (1956). Omdurman/ Bergen: Abdel Karim Mirghani Cultural Center/ Center for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies,
  170. One reason for this is that funds are distributed from the centre through line ministries rather than through to the State leaving GoSS fully in charge of 70 per cent of the revenues and states only upwardly accountable to the president.
  171. (2007). one reason given for the MDTF’s slow disbursement is the rivalry between UNDP and the World Bank. See Axel Borchgrevink and Anita Haslie. Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. ‘International Engagement in Sudan after the CPA, Working Paper 714’.
  172. (2007). One reportedly happened near the Ambororo camp in Lokol Okoni. Allegedly an argument between SPLA and Ambororo cattle traders ended in the Ambororo man stabbing the SPLA soldier to death. In
  173. particular ‘chiefs’ and ‘Kings’ with the most legitimate power and influence would not be in a position to abdicate their roles thus excluding the most influential traditional leaders from the executive and legislative governing of Southern Sudan.
  174. (2006). Peace has come to Southern Sudan, but challenges remain.’ doi
  175. (2009). per cent were for the North, now seems to be 50/50. It could be more if we were not cut off from the south but strong tribal links to the North and Darfur remain.’ Interview with Field Officer/INGO (name and title withheld). Raja Town:
  176. Personal email with feedback on Juba research workshop from respondent
  177. (2009). Personal email with feedback on Juba research workshop from respondent 20 (name withheld). 4
  178. (2009). Personal email with feedback on MTDT with respondent 69: World Bank staff (name withheld). 20
  179. (2009). Pigi belongs to Shilluk in Upper Nile not
  180. Please refer to the section on How decentralisation and administrative division fuels conflict, for a further discussion.
  181. pooled funding mechanisms make up 34 per cent of all donors funds whereas bilateral funding makes up 66 per cent.
  182. (2009). Presentation given by Aggrey Tisa Sabuni, Under Secretary, Planning, MoFEP, GoSS GoSS Aid Strategy: Current implementation & future challenges
  183. (2009). Questionnaire response from Madi returnee. Nimule,
  184. (2009). Raja attributed their continued marginalisation to the problem of ethnicity: ‘We feel the government in Wau is behind the delay in building the road because the Fertit are not ruling.’ Focus group discussion with women’s group. Raja Town, Raja County,
  185. reportedly 3000 guns were collected from members of Quart Salam, although it is not clear where these are stored. Interview with respondent 3: Fertit elder (name withheld).
  186. (2006). Rift Valley Institute. ‘Local Peace Processes in Sudan: A Baseline Study’.
  187. section ‘Chiefs’ and peacebuilding for a more detailed discussion on the current role of ‘chiefs’.
  188. (1985). See for example Andrew Mawson, ‘Murahaleen raids on the Dinka, doi
  189. (2008). See for example Mareike Schomerus, Violent Legacies: Insecurity in Sudan’s Central and Eastern Equatoria (Working Paper 13). Human Security Baseline Assessment (Geneva: The Small Arms Survey,
  190. See for example, Daniel Awet Akot, ‘The imperative of decentralization,’ in Accord: Peace by Piece: Addressing Sudan’s Conflicts,
  191. See section on cattle for more on proliferation of cattle-raiding.
  192. (2008). Small Arms Survey. ‘Gauging Fear and Insecurity: Perspectives on Armed Violence in Eastern Equatoria and Turkana North’.
  193. (2010). Small Arms Survey. ‘Uncertain Future: Armed Violence in Southern Sudan’.
  194. so at least during that time, brideprice was not the main motivation for raiding.
  195. (2009). South Sudan asks to restore security to allow smooth voter registration,’ Sudan Tribune
  196. (2009). SPLM officials (names withheld).
  197. (1996). Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism. Mahmood Mamdani. (Princeton NJ: doi
  198. Taxation provides a good illustration: In some areas, collecting taxes has long been the chief’s role. As such, it was a localised process, often disconnected from a national authority or social contract with government.
  199. (1998). The ‘Wau Train’ was usually accompanied by several thousands of Misseriya on horseback. The movement of the train and the destruction caused by Misserya was largely stopped in
  200. The academic literature relating to identity politics and tribal conflicts in Sudan is substantial (recent contributions are Deng,
  201. (1953). The Azande, and related peoples of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and Belgian Congo. doi
  202. The cattle-keeping areas visited for this research were Kapoeta East in Eastern Equatoria state,
  203. the Commissioner of Cueibet county,
  204. The consequences of this are expressed clearly in isolated areas, such as Raja County
  205. (2005). The corresponding map present in the British Library archives has no boundaries located lower than provincial level but rather only shows the demarcation between north and south. Furthermore, the Interim National Constitution of the Republic of Sudan
  206. The delicate balance between those supporting unity and those favouring separation was expressed in an interview with a local NGO worker who pointed out that ‘previously it was said that more than
  207. The first was the return of refugees to Algeria in the mid 1960s.
  208. (1964). The Fundamental Concepts of Sociology doi
  209. The militia worked in conjunction with SAF, including for intelligence gathering. When the SPLA entered Raja Town in 2001, Quart Salam fought with SAF to regain the town.
  210. (1997). The Politics of Liberation in South Sudan.
  211. (2010). the Resolutions.’ Paper presented at the Khorfulus and Atar Peace and Reconciliation Conference, Khorfulus, Jonglei State,
  212. (2009). The Resolutions’ (paper presented at the Khorfulus and Atar Peace and Reconciliation Conference, Khorfulus, Jonglei State,
  213. The revised Cotonou Agreement is the only binding legal instrument including an ICC-related clause.
  214. (2003). The Root Causes of Sudan’s Civil Wars. doi
  215. The rumours that guns are still being dropped for Quart Salam members were persistently mentioned between Mapel and Raja, along with rumours that Quart Salam was teaming up with the LRA.
  216. (2009). The term ‘ethnic tension’ was the term offered by the translator. Focus group discussion with focus group 7: main chief, Bai chief, Shat chief and head of parentteacher council. Korgana, Wau County, Western Bahr el-Ghazal: 31
  217. The term ‘peace dividend’ has come to mean any benefits associated with no longer being at war. Originally, however, the term referred to the re-allocation of funds from a no longer needed defense budget.
  218. These are results from individual interviews. A similar pattern emerged in focus group discussions.
  219. (2007). They also model themselves on Sudanese gangs prevalent in the refugee community in Cairo. Heather Sharp, ‘Sudanese gangs afflict Cairo streets ‘
  220. (2009). Thirty-three per cent of survey respondents reported that they had been attacked at least once since the signing of the CPA. Of those who reported having been attacked, 80 per cent said that the most recent attack had happened in
  221. This conflict set-up is mirrored in many places, such as in the conflict between Dinka Malual and Rizeigat.
  222. (1996). This distinction and its definition is derived from Mahmood Mamdani, Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of late Colonialism, doi
  223. (2009). This point was made by groups interviewed along the road north of Nimule in
  224. This reversion to ‘tradition’ is often simply a throwback to reforms of another era rather than restoration of a somehow organic structure of society –see further discussion on chiefs in this report.
  225. (2009). three male members of Niggaz youth gang. Korgana, Wau County,
  226. Toposa males. Narus,
  227. (2009). Upper Nile:
  228. (2008). Violent Legacies: Insecurity in Sudan’s Central and Eastern Equatoria (Working Paper 13). Human Security Baseline Assessment (Geneva: The Small Arms Survey,
  229. We are indebted to Douglas Johnson and John W Donaldson for their input into this section.
  230. Why Abyei Matters: the Breaking Point of Sudan’s doi
  231. (2005). Winning the war, but losing the peace? The dilemma of SPLM/A civil administration and the tasks ahead.’ doi
  232. (2009). Woman’s Group. Narus,
  233. (2005). Young credits Garang with keeping the SPLA/M alive and giving it a vision, while at the same time establishing a tight hegemony within the part.
  234. (2009). young, john. ‘Sudan: a flawed peace process leading to a flawed peace.’ Review of African Political Economy. 103, (2005): 99-113. young, j john. ‘Garang’s Legacy to the Peace Process, doi
  235. (2009). youth leaders in Bisselia.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.