Josef Korbel School of International Studies – University of Denver Uduk Hope Inc., Graduate Research Assistant
UN Peacekeepers Arrived in Central Equatoria after a Three-Day Road Block
South Sudan’s military and security personnel have allowed the United Nation’s Peacekeepers to enter Kajo Keji town of Central Equatoria. After reports of the worsening security and humanitarian situation in the area following clashes between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and Opposition groups, Peacekeepers were prevented from reaching the location of fleeing civilians for three-days thanks to a systemic road block by South Sudanese officials. The Peacekeepers were dispatched to provide force protection and enable the delivery of humanitarian aid.
The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) was founded as a guerrilla movement in 1983 and was a key participant of the Second Sudanese Civil War. Following South Sudan’s independence in 2011, the SPLA became the new republic’s regular army.
Independence did not bring peace, either externally and or internally. Much of the world’s media coverage focused on South Sudan’s difficulties with Sudan over border and oil issues, and less attention was paid to the country’s internal struggles. It was reported that at one-point, the SPLA was fighting at least seven armed groups in nine of its ten states – many of whom accused the government of ignoring rural development and not fairly supporting the country’s myriad of ethnic groups.
Ethnic groups are also fighting among themselves. Interethnic warfare predated South Sudan’s independence. Unfortunately, not only does the SPLA seem incapable of stopping the fighting, but its human rights abuses and partisanship are also causing many citizens to increasingly distrust the government.
Global and Local Impact and Implications
UN Peacekeepers help countries torn by conflict create the conditions for lasting peace. They are comprised of civilian, police and military personnel. In South Sudan, Peacekeepers are mandated to protect civilians, monitor human rights and support the implementation of cessation of hostilities agreement. Despite the presence of Peacekeepers, the situation remains dangerous even for those who make it to refugee camps. Recently within Doro Camp, where Uduk Hope Inc. currently operates, in-camp conflict caused many refugees to flee from the camp. While information can be difficult to come by, Uduk Hope Inc. will continue to monitor the local situation and provide support to these refugees.