Storytelling: Setback of a Country: South Sudan's New War
Setback of a Country: South Sudan's New War
On 15 December 2013, just two and a half years after South Sudan became independent, fighting broke out in Juba between soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to former Vice-President Riek Machar.
The violence quickly spread across the country, forcing people to flee, dismantling the fragile lives they had rebuilt since independence. Over 1 million people were displaced across South Sudan and to neighboring countries. Many perished along the way; others were brutally murdered in their hospital beds, burnt alive in their homes or attacked while seeking protection in spaces mandated by the United Nations.
While tens of thousands of people have lost their lives during this latest surge of violence, the exact death toll is not known. Many of the killings remain undocumented, and many people are still missing – perhaps buried in mass graves.
Peace talks have been ongoing in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa since January 2014, and an African Union commission of inquiry was established to investigate human rights violations and other abuses committed during the conflict. Still, a durable solution has not yet been found.
South Sudan’s Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation and other reconciliation actors continue to play a critical role. The Committee is working with communities at the grassroot level to bring healing through dialogue, sharing of memories and other restorative justice measures, which will begin to re-weave the torn fabric of affected communities.