The Deadly Plagues and Social Crimes of South Sudan the Youngest African Country

April 24, 2012 - Lalop, South Sudan: A group of SPLA soldiers rest at the newly established military base in the village o Lalop, 50 kilometers north of Bentiu. South Sudan and their northern neighbors, Sudan, have in the past two weeks been involved in heavily clashes over border disputes. Bentiu and neighboring villages have been under constant bombardment by the troops os Karthoum , who established their positions around 10 kilometers into South Sudan's territory. The international community is concerned about the possibility of a full on war between the two countries. (Paulo Nunes dos Santos/Polaris)
Lalop, South Sudan, a group of soldiers rest at a military base. Photo/Paul Nunes Santos

South Sudan was part of the Republic of Sudan, but very different in terms of geography and language. South Sudan has English as the official language. The region is also known as Anglo-Egypt due to the domination of large Egyptian populations in the past century during the colonial era. Other languages spoken in South Sudan include Dinka, Nuer, Bari and Zande. Mother languages such as Juba Arabic, which is Arabic pidgin, is spoken by several thousands of people in Juba, the capital city of South Sudan presently.

South Sudan took shape by carving out part of the Republic of Sudan to the north. It shares a border with Ethiopia from the east, and borders Uganda, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo from south and Central Africa from the west in a landlocked form. The major occupation in this area is livestock farming, which involves rearing of cattle to be specific.

The East African country gained her independence from the Republic of Sudan officially in July 2011, after much struggle and deadly protests from civilians, in the first months post independence; a civilian government was briefly formed for the first time.

Leadership evolved into a federal system of government, and since then South Sudan has witnessed several instances of political unrest, ethnic conflict and many other periods of violence culminating in the first civil war in 2013. As one of the major large-scale oil producing countries it still remains a very poor nation as oil revenue does not imply growth, but fuels rebellions and war.

2.5 million Sudanese have been displaced since 2013. As conflicts over oil and tribal division spurred theft, specifically of cattle between neighboring tribes and the government which is stealing cattle from its people too. The country was forced to sign an agreement of peace in August 2015.

But government soldiers assigned to protect the people have been reported to be the perpetrators of violence accompanied with several atrocities performed by these so called men of valor till date.

One of the activities in South Sudan that stimulates the interest of international human rights organizations was the suffocation of civilians in a shipping container by government soldiers. As National Public Radio reports “this incident is significant for several reasons. First, Amnesty International is calling it a war crime by the Sudanese government against its own people. Second, it occurred two months after the warring parties — the forces of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and troops led by his former vice president, Reik Machar — signed a peace accord”. Only one boy, an 8-years-old is said to have survived the shipping container massacre that saw 60 people die.

Recruitment of children and adolescents as soldiers to fight rebel groups and mass rape of women and girls in the country goes unabated. The government in its own way seems to be oppressing the population as soldiers are often asked to work without receiving their wages.

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In February, 2016, Amnesty International found human remains in an open field where the victims who died in the shipping container were reportedly dumped. Photo/Amnesty International

Outbreak of epidemic disease is massive due to the mishandling of corpses during and after conflicts. Many children suffer from malnutrition and food provided by the UN to refugee camps is not enough.

The government reaction through presidential spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny is to deny all the problems caused by the soldiers especially the killing of 60 men and boys through suffocation. He also denies the fact that women are used as sex slaves to comfort the unpaid soldiers in various barracks.