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Perilous borders: Sudanese communities affected by conflict on the Sudan - Uganda border

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SUMMARY

The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is conventionally considered by outsiders to be a Ugandan issue, with its Sudanese dimension poorly understood and often overlooked. This is the first study of how armed conflict by the LRA and other armed groups has affected Sudanese communities living along the Sudan-Uganda border. It documents local people's views from the LRAaffected areas of Eastern and Central Equatoria on the conflicts, the current security and development situation, and on reintegration, reconciliation, accountability and cross-border relations. It provides insight into some of the profound challenges for peacebuilding and statebuilding in Southern Sudan and its border areas and suggests issues that need to be addressed.

Border communities were drawn into both the northsouth conflict in Sudan and the LRA conflict. Some were involved as fighters (voluntary or forced) in the armed groups and many were victims of forces that often targeted civilians. Consequently, the overwhelming majority have experienced the violence of war. Yet almost four years after the signing of Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), there is growing frustration in these communities that the expected 'peace dividend' has not yet materialized. Development remains elusive amid widespread insecurity. There is no overarching strategy and few programmes promote reintegration of demobilized fighters, returning refugees and internally displaced persons. Existing efforts are insufficient to address the scale of psychosocial and development needs. State institutions appear largely absent in the lives of many, underscoring the challenges of building a truly inclusive and responsive state. Furthermore the wars have left a legacy of traumatized and fragmented communities whose recovery is complicated by ongoing conflict and insecurity.