Since South Sudan voted to break away from Sudan in 2011, the country is immersed in a cruel and violent political squabble that has escalated into ethnic violence. In this sense, UN human rights investigators say that pro-government Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) fighters, loyal to President Salva Kiir, raped and tortured civilians in the town of Yei. According to their reports, 114 civilians were killed around Yei town between July 2016 and 2017, apart from more methods such as looting, torture and rapes.
The attacks were brutally executed and, like elsewhere in the country, appeared to have an ethnic dimension, according to the UN investigation. Political conflict, compounded by economic motivations, has caused massive displacement. Mercy Corps states that there are over 5.1 million people in need of aid and 4,8 million facing hunger. “Due to economic collapse and three years of poor agricultural conditions, areas of South Sudan are now experiencing famine”, said in a news report.
In 2012, disagreements with Sudan over the oil-rich region of Abyei erupted into fighting, knowns as the Heglig Crisis. A peace deal was finally reached in June 2012, and the civil war broke out after the president, Salva Kiir Mayardiit, sacked the cabinet and accused Vice-President Riek Machar of planning a failed coup. Since then, the conflict continues two UN agencies have shown that civil war in South Sudan has forced more than 2 million children to flee their homes.
Children have arrived as refugees mainly in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, say UNICEF and UNHCR. “I had never seen anything like this”, said Corrie Sissons, Oxfam’s Food Security Coordinator from England based in South Sudan. Since the beginning of the civil war, almost third of people have been forced to flee their homes, states Oxfam. In addition to this, Sissons has said in a report that most of the children she saw looked severely malnourished and had no energy or spark. Different international non-profits such as Action Against Hunger, Doctors without Borders, UNHCR, Oxfam Intermon and Amnesty International are already working in the field to help prevent civilians from starving and suffering the consequences of this conflict.