Cattle herding and Conflict in Southern Sudan

MALUAL AKAN CATTLE CAMP, Sudan--Cattle are at the center of the Dinka culture in Lakes state. The story of Mabany Dut Akot helps to illustrate why cattle are also linked to the violent insecurity plaguing heavily armed areas of the south.

Pro-Secession Feelings Stronger than Ever in South Sudan

MELUT, Sudan--If you've been reading news from Southern Sudan, you may have read a statement along the lines of "analysts widely predict that the south will vote for separation." From the perspective of journalists like me who are writing these articles, this line is a bit of of a cop out, but the sentiment in Southern Sudan is so overwhelming pro-secession that it seems wrong not to mention it.

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Any Good News Today from South Sudan?

JUBA, Sudan—The sun was setting at the standard Equatorial time of just after 7pm, and I was bumping along a potholed road with my trusted motorcycle taxi.  Another day in Juba beginning to draw to a close. Then, my driver Issa said to me over his shoulder, “Do you have any good news from today?” This is not the first time in the 11 months that I have known Issa that he has said something to me that has struck me as powerful, insightful, or simply startling in its honesty.

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UN Gears up for the South Sudan Referendum Vote

MUNDRI, Sudan—Earlier this week, I flew to Mundri, in the fertile green state of Western Equatoria, to attend the United Nations Mission in Sudan’s unveiling of its first “county referendum base.” Per the request of the National Congress Party and the south’s ruling SPLM, the U.N. is upping its support and assistance to the referendum process. Part of this bigger effort is establishing a presence in each of the south’s 79 counties, a step that clearly shows the U.N.

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South Sudan Watch: Uniting Rival Clans

JUBA, Sudan--“You are the same people,” the southern Sudanese vice president Riek Machar remarked to a conference room full of elites and traditional leaders from the Lou and Jikany clans of the Nuer tribe. “What is the problem?” he asked, seeming to be genuinely perplexed as to the causes of continued conflict between these two groups.

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South Sudan Watch: Gerrymandering, Sudan-Style

JUBA, Sudan—Sudan’s national elections in April highlighted the fact that elections are a process, not a one-day event that happens only on polling day (or during polling period, since Sudan had five days of polling). This is significant because a process can be manipulated more easily and more subtly than a one-day or five-day event. Some thoughts on this note...

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South Sudan Watch: Enter the Lord’s Resistance Army

NZARA, Sudan—As if southern Sudan doesn’t already have its proverbial hands full in terms of the wide array of security threats facing the Afghanistan-sized territory, enter the Lord’s Resistance Army. In fact, the brutal militia is not new to Sudan; during Sudan’s long civil war, the LRA found safe haven in Khartoum-controlled areas of the South, including in what is now the southern capital, Juba.