HSBA Issue Brief for Sudan and South Sudan, #28 - May 2017
Following fighting in Juba in July 2016 and Riek Machar’s flight into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the peace agreement between the Government of South Sudan and opposition forces has not only collapsed but has led to new conflict in Greater Equatoria, along the DRC border, according to a new report from the Small Arms Survey.
Spreading fallout: The collapse of the ARCSS and new conflict along the Equatorias-DRC border, a new Issue Brief from the Survey’s Human Security Baseline Assessment (HSBA) for Sudan and South Sudan, documents the period following July 2016 when then vice-president Riek Machar, leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-in-Opposition (SPLM/A-IO), and hundreds of his forces fled Juba and reached Garamba National Park across the border in the DRC. Machar and his men were eventually airlifted by the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) from there to camps in the DRC, where many of them remain.
President Salva Kiir subsequently installed Taban Deng Gai as vice president, to which the international community largely assented—thereby isolating Machar in exile and effectively ending the prospects of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS), the deeply flawed peace agreement that had enjoyed almost no political support from the government since its signature in August 2015.
Spreading fallout documents the further effects of the agreement’s collapse, with a focus on the growing unrest in Greater Equatoria. Taking advantage of cross-border ethnic ties, rising ethno-nationalism, and friendly DRC authorities, armed opposition groups are using DRC territory for transit and rear activities. They are also engaging in at least some recruitment among Congolese and South Sudanese on DRC territory. Meanwhile there is a risk of conflicts in Greater Equatoria intensifying, as the armed opposition forces continue to converge but also risk splintering. Against a backdrop of a shattered peace process, there is no foreseeable end to the conflicts in South Sudan.