South Sudan ten years on: Serious challenges remain after a decade of conflict and hardship

A period of violence and instability has left 7.2 million people in the country with acute food insecurity and 1.62 million people internally displaced

Rory Sullivan
Friday 09 July 2021 13:31
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<p>A woman from the Murle ethnic group stands at her destroyed tea shop in Gumuruk, South Sudan, on 10 June, 2021, after her village was attacked by an armed youth group. </p>

A woman from the Murle ethnic group stands at her destroyed tea shop in Gumuruk, South Sudan, on 10 June, 2021, after her village was attacked by an armed youth group.

South Sudan’s first ten years as an independent nation have been dominated by civil war and ethnic violence, a far cry from the optimism surrounding its birth.

A decade ago, the world’s youngest country was in a celebratory mood, having fulfilled its long-held desire for autonomy, following its split from Khartoum. At midnight on 9 July, thousands of South Sudanese poured out into the streets of the capital Juba to mark the dawn of their nation.

The country’s separation from the north took place six months after an independence referendum in the south returned a conclusive verdict, with more than 98 per cent of votes cast in favour of it.

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