Saturday, January 11, 2014

141.6 - Update: South Sudan

Update: South Sudan

Next update is about South Sudan. I don't expect in the future I'll be spending a lot of time on this because I know it's something that, quite frankly, a lot of you won't care about except in a broad philosophical sense. And while it's something I think you should know about, I also realize that it's not something you can do a lot about. Even so, I do want to give this update.

Peace negotiations, if you can call them that, have opened between the government of President Salva Kiir and rebel forces lead by former Vice-President Riek Machar - with (please try to contain your surprise) each side wanting the other to make the first move.

The government rejected rebel calls for an immediate release of prisoners, political supporters of Machar, which the government accuses of being involved in a coup against Kiir. Meanwhile, Machar, whose forces have taken the city of Bor and are reputed to be on the way to the capital city of Juba, is saying that groups calling for an immediate ceasefire are "jumping the gun," an attitude often taken by whichever side feels it is on the offensive.

The UNHCR, the UN agency dealing with refugees, reports that the conflict, which is only three weeks old, has already displaced 189,000 people. The map to the right gives some indications of the numbers involved.

Although the fighting has mostly been along ethnic lines, the fact is it appears at root to be more a matter of political power than ethnicity. Put another way, it's another example of tribal fears and hatred being exploited for the benefit of the powerful.

Same as it ever was. Which is the saddest part of all.


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