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South Sudan: The Violence Continues

South Sudan’s recent independence did not stop the violence that has disrupted greater Sudan for decades. Tribal rivalries, conflict with the North and other provinces, rogue militias, and drought continue to destabilize the new country. The Washington Post reports:

Members of a South Sudan tribe that was previously targeted in a massive ethnic assault killed 47 people in another revenge attack, an official said Tuesday, escalating the tribal conflict in the world’s newest nation…

Cattle raids between the Lou Neur and Murle [tribes] have gone on for decades.

In this assault, as has often been the case in Sudan’s civil war, the majority of the dead were the defenseless: old women, children. Cattle raids in Sudan are common, as are revenge attacks. Tribal rivalries characterize society even as they destroy it. Unfortunately, South Sudan’s much-celebrated independence has not yet pacified the country.  It’s not impossible that northern forces unreconciled to southern independence will take advantage of these splits to meddle.

It is much too soon to tell whether South Sudan can become even a reasonably stable and peaceful state, but so far, the auspices are poor.  A lot of western NGOs and do-gooding peacemakers have poured a lot of energy into promoting South Sudan’s independence. If the result is a new round of vicious ethnic violence, this will add one more humanitarian failure to a very long list of well-intentioned, idealistic African ventures gone tragically awry.

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