An Infant Nation, A 50-Year War

Posted by on Jul 1, 2015 in Field Updates, Nations, South Sudan | 0 comments

An Infant Nation, A 50-Year War

South Sudan’s struggle for freedom began with the first civil war, launched one year before the end of British rule in 1955 and lasted until 1972. Guerrilla groups from the south fought Sudanese government forces for representation and regional autonomy, until unified in 1971 under the banner of the South Sudan Liberation Movement, an organization that was able for the first time to speak and negotiate on behalf of the southern peoples for their objective of separation from Sudan to form a independent state.

A meeting of the World Council of Churches brought about the Addis Ababa agreement finally granting the people and the region the autonomy they desired. But civil war erupted once more, in 1983, when the new president of Sudan declared the entire country to be an islamic state under shari’a law abolishing the agreement. This step sparked the formation of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement and threw the country into 22 years of turmoil – the longest civil war recorded in Africa. The conflict came to a close once more in 2005 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that again allowed the South Sudan region autonomous governance.

The peace agreement began a six-year trial period of autonomy for the south and ended with a vote allowing the people of South Sudan the opportunity choose secession from Sudan. On January 9th 2011, the South Sudanese people passed an Independence Referendum of secession from Sudan by overwhelming popular vote, and on July 9th, after a six month transition period, South Sudan celebrated it’s independence.

For a year and a half the country progressed, until civil war broke out within the borders of the brand-new nation. Conflict had been rising between president Salva Kiir from the Dinka tribe and vice president Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer.

South Sudan War photo

Salva Kiir (Left) and Riek Machar (Right) Photo by dayblakelydonaldson

In December 2013 Machar boycotted a meeting of the National Liberation Council, which sparked a series of events leading to a violent outbreak between the Dinka and Nuer peoples. From that moment, the nation has been locked in a desperate civil war with the rebel army, funded by Sudan to the north in hopes that they may eventually retake a weakened South Sudan already defeated by its own horrific cycles of internal violence and revenge. Neighboring nations and the UN have also threatened to intervene, if the new nation cannot bring and maintain peace between its warring factions.

South Sudan is still in the desperate throes of a fight for freedom. The enemy has simply changed his face. Just as with America’s fight for freedom, victory comes not by might, nor by strength, but the Spirit of Lord. (Zech. 4:6) True peace can only be found in the hands of the Prince of Peace himself.

On July 13-19, we will be joining our South Sudanese brothers and sisters in an appeal to heaven as we organize the first ever National Prayer Gathering. The hour is critical and the forces of darkness are strong. But, stronger still is the King of kings and Lord of lords who “makes wars to cease.” (Psa. 46:9) We ask that you join in the battle on behalf of our South Sudanese family!

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