South Sudan marks another year of freedom without peace

2017-07-09 17:28
(iStock)

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Juba - South Sudan on Sunday marked its sixth independence anniversary in muted fashion, with no official celebration as the world's newest nation reels from a brutal and destructive ongoing civil war.

A third of the population has been forced from their homes creating one of the world's worst refugee crises, tens of thousands have been killed and a famine and food shortages have threatened the lives of millions more.

"Today I have nothing to celebrate," said 34-year-old father of three Ariik Majok, who works as a night watchman in the capital.

On July 9, 2011, dignitaries from around the world joined crowds of South Sudanese to celebrate the country's independence from Sudan, to the north, after decades of civil war.

But two years later, in December 2013, a new conflict was sparked when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup.

The war since then has been characterised by ethnic fighting, sexual violence and extreme brutality with civilians the primary victims.

Last month, the government announced it was cancelling official independence celebrations for the second year running. "Our situation does not require us to celebrate," said spokesperson Michael Makuei.

On Sunday morning in Juba there were no celebratory posters or banners, rather an air of mourning for the lost promise of independence pervaded the quiet streets.

 'No peace, no stability' 

"I don't regret voting for the independence of South Sudan," said Majok, "although I am not happy with the way things are going on in South Sudan.

"I did not expect this," he said of the war, spiralling inflation and food crisis.

Wani John, a 39-year-old civil servant, said he too saw nothing to celebrate.

"There is no peace and stability. People are dying and our leaders are not solving the situation. I am not a happy citizen," he said. "What we simply want is peace."

The laments of residents in Juba were echoed by international aid agencies which are struggling to address South Sudan's multiple crises and to raise funds for emergency relief work.

"Millions of children in South Sudan are suffering unthinkable hardships and setbacks in their education, nutrition, health and their rights," said Mahimbo Mdoe, South Sudan representative for the UN children's agency, Unicef.

An estimated two million children have been uprooted during more than three-and-a-half years of war and at least 2 500 have been killed, Unicef said.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)charity said there was little to celebrate as South Sudan marked its sixth independence anniversary.

"South Sudan's independence is overshadowed by conflict and an unprecedented food crisis," said NRC country director Rehana Zawar.

"While independence brought hopes of peace and development... today's ongoing conflict has resulted in four million South Sudanese having to flee their homes.

"With more people facing a severe food crisis every month, there is unfortunately little reason to celebrate," she said.

Read more on:    south sudan  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Weird things dogs do

Caught your dog doing something... well a little bit odd? Don’t worry, there’s a simple explanation for his behaviour.

 
 

Paws

Makeover saves dog’s life
For the love of Corgis!
Can we communicate with our pets?
8 great natural remedies for your pet
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.