Africa News blog

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Turmoil in south Sudan’s wild lands











South Sudan’s Jonglei State contains one of Africa’s largest remaining intact wildernesses. From the air the area’s sheer vastness, the green plains broken only by bending rivers and huge swamps, is intimidating.

Its human landscape is one of turmoil, of tribal violence, slavery and in the last half
century, two long north-south civil wars. The last one ended in 2005 with a deal between Khartoum and the main southern rebel group.

It should now be at peace. But hundreds of people — the United Nations says more than 1,000 — have died here this year in a resurgence of inter-ethnic violence of an intensity not seen since the end of the war.

There was plenty then: many of the 2 million deaths in the north-south war were south-on-south as Khartoum-backed tribal militias battled the main southern rebel group that itself spilt as a result of bloody ethnically coloured power struggles.