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Published on 30 April 2014

From civil war to ethnic conflagration

From civil war to ethnic conflagration

From the outset, South Sudan was a fragile construction, despite support from the international community, US sponsorship and substantial oil resources. The leaders of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) former rebel movement were completely unprepared to run an independent State. Their considerable popular support stemmed mainly from the relief the southern peoples felt that the decades of deadly war with the Khartoum regime had finally come to an end. But constructing a nation simply on the basis of being separate from Northern Sudan did not provide the new State with a clear national identity. Consequently, the power struggle between president Salva Kiir (a member of the Dinka ethnic group) and his number two, the Nuer Riek Machar, fanned by the oil resource, plunged South Sudan into a civil war that could at any moment degenerate into a long-term inter-ethnic conflict.

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