South Sudan’s oppositional groups, including rebel leader Riek Machar, are refusing to sign peace treaties. A peace deal could spell an end to the country’s brutal civil war.

“The main South Sudanese opposition groups, including the SPLM-IO (Machar faction), refused to sign the final document demanding that their reservations be guaranteed in it,” Sudan‘s Foreign Minister Al-Dierdiry Ahmed told reporters in Khartoum on Tuesday.

While a peace deal would be a great step forward for the country, previous attempts at peace agreements have failed within months. For example, an agreement to end fighting was signed in June. However, Machar ended up rejecting certain facets of the agreement, such as a distribution of power between three separate capitals.

“In 2015, the government changed the number of states from 10 to 32,” said Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan. “Machar has opposed that vehemently and said he didn’t want 32 states. He wanted 10 so that he can have more control. This was one of the main sticking points between the two sides.”

 

The War

 

Sudan and South Sudan split in 2011 as a result of a 2005 peace deal which attempted to end Africa’s longest-running civil war.

South Sudanese citizens overwhelmingly voted to secede and become the continent’s first new nation to gain independence since Eritrea split from Ethiopia in 1993.

In December of 2013, however, President Salva Kiir and then Vice-President Riek Machar began to feud over political differences. Following clashes in Juba in July 2016, Machar went into exile.

There is no “good” or “bad” side to this war, as both sides have committed war crimes. Such crimes include beatings, torture, rape, looting, and attacks on civilians.

As a result of the violence, 2 million Sudanese citizens have become refugees and 25 percent of Sudanese girls are suicidal. 

 

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

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