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Shots in the Dark: The 2008 South Sudan Civilian Disarmament Campaign

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... The ramifications of this were never more visible than during attempts to disarm pastoralist militias after the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Army. A 2006 SPLA campaign to disarm the Lou Nuer in Jonglei is estimated to have cost the lives of 1200-1600 Nuer White Army and 400 SPLA fighters-approximately as many as those who died in the Bor Massacre (Brewer 2010;O'Brien 2009). As allegiances between the main political factions and pastoralist militias decay, major actors are no longer able to consistently secure pastoralist militias' loyalty. ...
... Disarmament campaigns have a history of being used as ad hoc, reactive responses to violence. These interventions have been unsuccessful at best and disastrous at worst, such as in the previously cited case of the 2006 Jonglei campaign, which on final tally cost one death for every two weapons recovered (Garfield 2007;O'Brien 2009). In part, it is too difficult to coordinate the simultaneous disarmament of various pastoralist groups. ...
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Cattle raiding, a longstanding practice among pastoralists in South Sudan, was historically governed by cultural authorities and ritual prohibitions. However, after decades of on-and-off integration into armed forces, raiders are now heavily armed, and military-style attacks claim dozens if not hundreds of lives at a time. Beginning with the emergence of the infamous Lou Nuer “White Army” in the Bor Massacre of the early 1990s, in which Riek Machar mobilized local herders to mount a devastating attack against the heartland of Sudan People’s Liberation Army Leader John Garang, political leaders have strategically manipulated these local conflicts in order to mobilize armed herders for their political movements. Political leaders’ systematic exploitation of customary raiding practices gravely inflames the current conflict, but the role of intercommunity violence has not been part of the mainstream dialogue around political solutions. Moreover, as allegiances between pastoralist militias and political factions decay, the proliferation of informal armed groups whose motivations are often distinct from the agenda of the state or opposition forces on whose behalf they once fought poses increasing challenges to peacebuilding efforts. Neglecting local realities poses serious implications for the prospects of peace. In this article, we synthesize perspectives from anthropology, regional history, and conflict studies to offer an analysis of the interplay between local conflict and state violence in South Sudan. We highlight opportunities for conflict de-escalation, concluding with policy recommendations focused on justice and enforcement in the rural areas of South Sudan.
... Bevan (2008: 17), by way of recommends "the Karamojong stress the need for their greater involvement in community policing, decisions concerning the defence of communities against hostile parties, and the future shape of disarmament initiatives." Among the many challenges of disarmament mentioned in various literatures are the ill plans, the lack of community involvement in programming, the lack of ability, and sometimes reluctance to provide security to disarmed communities (Bevan 2008;Schomerus 2008;Leff 2009;O'Brien 2009;Brewer 2010). Steady supply of arms after disarmament, lack of willingness to surrender and hiding of arms due to mistrust, lack of willingness of the governments to destroy the arms are mentioned in the majority of the literature (Bevan 2008;Schomerus 2008;Leff 2009;O'Brien 2009;Brewer 2010). ...
... Among the many challenges of disarmament mentioned in various literatures are the ill plans, the lack of community involvement in programming, the lack of ability, and sometimes reluctance to provide security to disarmed communities (Bevan 2008;Schomerus 2008;Leff 2009;O'Brien 2009;Brewer 2010). Steady supply of arms after disarmament, lack of willingness to surrender and hiding of arms due to mistrust, lack of willingness of the governments to destroy the arms are mentioned in the majority of the literature (Bevan 2008;Schomerus 2008;Leff 2009;O'Brien 2009;Brewer 2010). Most pastoralists in Eastern Africa have lost confidence in the state security providers due to forced disarmament campaigns. ...
Book
This book depicts the Ethiopian state as a product of “negotiation” processes and a multitude of “intersections” between the state an “various identity groups” both in critical historical periods and in the present time – where formations and reformations of the nature of the state are still ongoing. It, therefore, narrates the intentional and, as far as this book has found, the rational actions of identity groups in lowland Ethiopia, clearly countering singular narratives of victimhood and subjugation. The book started out as an interrogation of the role of arms among the Nyangatom pastoralists in the lower Omo Valley of Ethiopia. Arms are common phenomenon in most lowland borderlands in Africa including the Ethiopian south-western borderland studied in this book. However, an investigation into the role of arms has unravelled several nuances that go beyond the function of arms as an instrument of violence. The study of the role of arms in intra-communal relations has brought to light subtle trends, beliefs, and insecurities that reinforce intractable conflicts. Communities in borderlands are presented with social and economic challenges that call for creative solutions. The borders present options despite underdeveloped infrastructure and often-harsh environmental conditions. This book only covers the period up to 2017 thus the political and policy changes in Ethiopia after the premiership of Dr Abiy Ahmed are not covered.
... Th e events presented here took place shortly aft er the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). At that time Jonglei State, and its capital of Bor, was not fully disarmed and still experienced insecurity (A. O'Brien 2009). According to Small Arms Survey, most of the confl icts were long-standing and stemmed from the civil war, but they were exacerbated by drought and food shortages, and related migration confl icts among pastoralist communities and between pastoralists and agriculturalists (Mc- Evoy and LeBrun 2010: 21). Nevertheless, this period stood o ...
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Since the late 1990s, researchers have been predicting that the era of neutrality in aid politics is coming to an end and that foreign organizations will have to take a more engaged stance. Yet while the boundaries between humanitarianism and development are fading, in some cases the neutrality norm is actually expanding rather than giving way to an engaged paradigm. Recognizing that the principles of neutrality and independence have different meanings for different actors and that they are applied in various ways, this article examines how the humanitarian developers-small NGOs operating in Jonglei State in South Sudan-use these paradigms. The article shows that their specific variant of neutrality is not so much a pragmatic tool enabling operations in difficult settings, but instead is a structural form of identity. In this variation, neutrality is not about the absence of a political stance, but about standing apart from social structures and social immunity.
... The devastating consequences of the South Sudan conf lict have prompted several scholars to come up with narratives as to the circumstances that have led to the conf lict (Ballentine and Nitzschke 2005, Doyle and Sambanis 2000, O'Brien 2009). Some of these narratives touch on natural resources (especially oil), others on the access and availability of arms, or the role of Sudan in the conf lict. ...
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With the South Sudanese conflict in its fifth year in 2018, this paper seeks to not only examine the status of the civil war that has engulfed the youngest nation on earth but to also discuss the evolving narratives of its causes and provide policy recommendation to actors involved in the peace process. Having examined the continuously failing peace treaties between the warring parties, it is evident that the agreements have failed to unearth and provide solutions to the crisis and a new approach to examining the causes and solutions to the problem is therefore necessary. This paper argues that ethnic animosities and rivalry are a key underlying cause that has transformed political rivalry into a deadly ethnic dispute through vicious mobilization and rhetoric. Therefore, it recommends a comprehensive peace approach that will address the political aspects of the conflict and propose restructuring South Sudan's administrative, economic and social spheres in order to curb further manipulation of the ethnic differences.
... devastating consequences of the South Sudan conf lict have prompted several scholars to come up with narratives as to the circumstances that have led to the conf lict (Ballentine and Nitzschke 2005, Doyle and Sambanis 2000, O'Brien 2009. Some of these narratives touch on natural resources (especially oil), others on the access and availability of arms, or the role of Sudan in the conf lict. ...
Article
With the South Sudanese conflict in its fifth year in 2018, this paper seeks to not only examine the status of the civil war that has engulfed the youngest nation on earth but to also discuss the evolving narratives of its causes and provide policy recommendation to actors involved in the peace process. Having examined the continuously failing peace treaties between the warring parties, it is evident that the agreements have failed to unearth and provide solutions to the crisis and a new approach to examining the causes and solutions to the problem is therefore necessary. This paper argues that ethnic animosities and rivalry are a key underlying cause that has transformed political rivalry into a deadly ethnic dispute through vicious mobilization and rhetoric. Therefore, it recommends a comprehensive peace approach that will address the political aspects of the conflict and propose restructuring South Sudan's administrative, economic and social spheres in order to curb further manipulation of the ethnic differences.
... devastating consequences of the South Sudan conf lict have prompted several scholars to come up with narratives as to the circumstances that have led to the conf lict (Ballentine and Nitzschke 2005, Doyle and Sambanis 2000, O'Brien 2009. Some of these narratives touch on natural resources (especially oil), others on the access and availability of arms, or the role of Sudan in the conf lict. ...
... UNMIS was mandated to assist the SAF, the SPLA and other relevant stakeholders with the establishment of voluntary disarmament and weapons destruction processes. However, no official systems and mechanisms were created to facilitate coordination and communication, as well as manage institutional tensions between the various organisations directly involved in DDR (O'Brien 2009). This state of affairs, as specified by strategic alliance theory, increases the risk of self-serving and myopic behaviour by one or more parties to the alliance. ...
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This article analyses the nature of coordination between the various stakeholders during the design and implementation of a disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) process. It makes detailed reference to the contemporary DDR programme in South Sudan as this African country is a relevant example of significant international and local efforts to facilitate DDR coordination in a fragile and complex political and operational environment. The analyses showed that in South Sudan, coordination appeared to have been negatively affected by hierarchical, convoluted and inflexible organisational structures and arrangements. In addition, further contributing factors included: inadequate communication; uncertainty over roles and responsibilities; and unequal access to financial resources. Moreover it was apparent that these arrangements and dynamics fostered inter-organisational tensions and eroded trust between stakeholders. This ultimately resulted in fragmented and sub-standard DDR outcomes.
... Genocide is defined as the systematic attempt to terminate a group of people due to their nationality, ethnic origin, race, or religion (Levy, 2009). Another example is the civil war between the two largest ethnic groups in South Sudan, the Nuer and the Dinkas (Levy, 2009;Milner & Khawaja, 2010;Natsios, 2012;O'Brien, 2009;Scherr & Larson, 2009). ...
Thesis
Previous studies have mostly focused on racial relations between black and white racial groups. This study focused on relations between members of one racial group, the black race. In South Africa, the black race comprises of nine ethnic groups. The tertiary/ higher education institution was selected as the appropriate site of study due to diversity in terms of the various ethnicities of the student population. Not all ethnic groups could participate in the study as purposive sampling was used. Three students from differing black ethnic groups, who had had negative and/or positive experiences with individuals from other black ethnic groups, were chosen to participate. This was a qualitative study and therefore interviews were used to collect data. The phenomenological approach was chosen with the interpretative phenomenological analysis selected as the data analysis approach. The results showed similarities and differences in experiences each participant had with members of other ethnic groups. The themes extracted were ethnic identity: identity confusion vs. certainty, personal experiences of inter-ethnic relations, and majority and minority ethnic groups‟ experiences. The limitations of the study were noted and as a result, recommendations were made to inform future research.
... unfettered arms flows"(McEvoy, 2009, p. 1). The Geneva-based Small Arms Survey estimated in 2007 that between 1.9 and 3.2 million firearms were in circulation in the country, two-thirds of which were in civilian hands (Small Arms Survey, 2013).One of the major concerns among southerners was the uneven process of disarmament being carried out by the SPLA(Small Arms Survey, 2013;O'Brien, 2009). Locals interviewed in Unity and Upper Nile States in late 2011 complained that some communities were being targeted for disarmament while others were not. ...
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In December 2013, violence broke out in the newly independent South Sudan. President Salva Kiir’s Dinka-dominated national military, and former Vice President Riek Machar and his Nuer fighters took up arms against one another. To many in the policy world, this was somewhat of a surprise; South Sudan has drawn international developmental and security assistance since the end of the war with Sudan in 2005. Yet to those who have studied South Sudan, this turn of events was not unexpected. This article assesses the elements that have contributed to recent violence. I argue that by ignoring historical legacies of divisive politics among southerners, focusing on external security issues, and continuing to fund a corrupt government, Western nations bear as much responsibility for the violence as do South Sudanese leaders.
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Successful management of combatants through disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) remains one of the main challenges of post-conflict peacebuilding. While DDR is meant to contribute to a secure post-conflict environment conducive to economic and political development, the success of DDR efforts remains mixed. Unlike previous work focusing on procedural aspects or post-conflict reconstruction and development, we shift the focus to understand microlevel conditions—economic, security, and ethnic concerns—that influence ex-combatants' satisfaction with DDR. We argue that ex-combatant satisfaction with DDR should increase as individual-level economic conditions increase, as security situations improve, and as ethnic tensions decrease. We test our expectations using an original data set collected with field interviews and surveys from 122 ex-combatants in South Sudan in 2011–2012. We find that participants are more satisfied when their income-generating activity is based on DDR job training and when the UN has a large presence in their area. Concerns about political instability and an abundance of firearms make ex-combatants less satisfied with DDR.
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This special section examines the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Government of the Republic of the Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army. It focuses on why the agreement was possible, the challenges involved in reaching and implementing it, and the issues that now lay ahead for both North and South Sudan. The purpose of this undertaking is to tease out what lessons might be learnt from this case for the future study and practice of seeking to settle civil wars through agreement and implementation of conflict settlements. This introductory article first provides a brief summary of the Sudanese civil war; it then examines the CPA's power and wealth-sharing arrangements and their implementation to date; and finally concludes with an analysis of statebuilding in the recently independent South Sudan.
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The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in 2005 by the incumbent National Congress Party (NCP) and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), brought to an end more than two decades of civil war in Sudan. The holding of a referendum on the issue of southern secession was the last key provision of the CPA. It was hoped that the CPA would be the catalyst for internal change; bringing greater political and economic power to the marginalized peripheries, thereby demonstrating to the southern Sudanese the possibilities of continued unity. However, after delays, disputes and ongoing violence, the southern Sudanese voted overwhelmingly in favor of secession. The NCP and the SPLM must now resolve a number of complex post-referendum issues, including the sharing of oil revenues and status of Abyei. Considering the difficult NCP-SPLM relationship prior to the referendum it remains to be seen whether the two parties can address these issues ahead of the South's independence in July 2011.
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Abstract: South Sudan, the youngest nation has never known peace; not even after hard-won independence from the larger Sudan. Civil war, violent deaths from often overlapping armed rebellions, and intra and inter-communal violence in Jonglei is just one such example that South Sudan has been at “wartime levels” perpetually. Whereas it’s true the country has faced many internal security challenges since gaining independence in July 2011, one of the deadliest and most complex has been inter-tribal violence, mainly involving the Lou Nuer, Murle, and Dinka. Lack of effective civilian governance, service delivery, and security are some of the trigger factors that have made Jonglei a hotbed of violent state- and national-level power struggles. The 2010 elections and 2012 disarmament campaign for example sparked armed rebellions but it cannot be lost that the state’s conflicts have always been intertwined and driven by a complex set of political, communal, and personal motivations. Underlying causes include persistent lack of services, increased competition over natural resources, and the erosion of traditional leadership structures, and the unspoken rules of cattle raiding. Force has long been the preferred governance tool, with the largest armed group, the SPLA, widely believed to be in the service of the Greater Bor Dinka, while the large and militarily strong Lou Nuer and Murle have felt marginalized in the Jonglei state. This study sought to evaluate the efficacy of the dispute resolution process amongst ethnic groups within the Jonglei State of South Sudan and perhaps offer an empirical reflection on the way forward. The study established that between 2009 and 2015 conflict in the Jonglei State was aggregated at 5940 deaths; that the IGAD peace initiative was the most preferred dispute resolution mechanism followed by inclusive governance and restorative justice programs at 39%, 24%, and 17% respectively. That of the key challenges to conflict resolution, marginalization, bad governance, and cultural factors were highly rated at 36%, 22%, and 17% respectively. Keywords: efficacy, conflict, strategies, ethnicity, Jonglei.
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Full-text available
South Sudan, the youngest nation has never known peace; not even after hard won independence from the larger Sudan. Civil war, violent deaths from often overlapping armed rebellions and intra and inter-communal violence in Jonglei is just one such example that South Sudan has been at " wartime levels " perpetually. Whereas it's true the country has faced many internal security challenges since gaining independence in July 2011, one of the deadliest and most complex has been inter-tribal violence, mainly involving the Lou Nuer, Murle, and Dinka. Lack of effective civilian governance, service delivery and security are some of the trigger factors that have made Jonglei a hotbed of violent state-and national-level power struggles. The 2010 elections and 2012 disarmament campaign for example sparked armed rebellions but it cannot be lost that the state's conflicts have always been intertwined and driven by a complex set of political, communal and personal motivations. Underlying causes include persistent lack of services, increased competition over natural resources, and the erosion of traditional leadership structures and the unspoken rules of cattle raiding. Force has long been the preferred governance tool, with the largest armed group, the SPLA, widely believed to be in the service of the Greater Bor Dinka, while the large and militarily strong Lou Nuer and Murle have felt marginalized in Jonglei state. This study sought to evaluate efficacy of dispute resolution process amongst ethnic groups within Jonglei State of South Sudan and perhaps offer an empirical reflection on way forward. The study established that between 2009 and 2015 conflict in the Jonglei State Jonglei State was aggregated at 5940 deaths; that the IGAD peace initiative was the most preferred dispute resolution mechanism followed by inclusive governance and restorative justice programs at 39%, 24% and 17% respectively. That of the key challenges to conflict resolution, marginalization, bad governance and cultural factors was highly rated at 36%, 22% and 17% respectively.
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The report is based on 8 weeks of field research in South Sudan between March and April 2011, and looks at the linkages between security interventions such as DDR, SALW control and SSR in relation to community security. It opens with an analysis of what security constitutes and assesses what various actors’ capacities and limitations for security promotion at the grassroots level. It then looks at the peculiarities of the three areas visited in order to address its specific security dynamics and concludes with a brief summary of the key dynamics found. The second part analyzes security promotion in past, present and future and addresses particularities found in the three states in this research. Attention is also given to various challenges for programmes as DDR, community disarmament and SSR related to contextual, political and institutional challenges. The conclusions then summarize the findings towards practical recommendations for local communities, security promotion actors, the GoSS and international donors.
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Historical structure of north-south relations British overrule nationalism, independence & the first civil war the Addis Ababa Agreement & the regional governments beginning of the second civil war interlude the momentum of liberation the SPLA split the Nuer civil war multiple civil wars the war economy & relief ideas of peace & war.
21 Interviews with security sources in Rumbek indicated that the total number killed was 150, not 95 as initially reported in the media. 22 Interview with chiefs in Rumbek 23 Interview with chiefs in Rumbek 25 Interview with State Legislative Assembly member 26 Interview with security sources
20 It is important to reiterate that most clashes go unreported. 21 Interviews with security sources in Rumbek indicated that the total number killed was 150, not 95 as initially reported in the media. 22 Interview with chiefs in Rumbek, October 2008. 23 Interview with chiefs in Rumbek, October 2008. 24 Interview with State Governor Daniel Awet Akot, Rumbek, October 2008. 25 Interview with State Legislative Assembly member, Rumbek, October 2008. 26 Interview with security sources, Rumbek, October 2008. 27 Interview with chiefs, Rumbek, October 2008. 28 Interview with chief, Rumbek, October 2008. 29 Interview with person close to the disarmament process, Rumbek, October 2008.
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