South Sudan

Where is South Sudan?

It is located in central Africa, bordered by 6 countries, and is the newest nation on Earth after gaining independence in 2011. Despite being a country rich in oil it is a very poor and underdeveloped country.

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Tensions in South Sudan

South Sudan gained independence through a referendum which saw the public vote by a large majority (98.8%) to break away from Sudan. Since gaining independence there has been a lot of unrest and border battles between Sudan and South Sudan. The death toll continues to increase daily. Fortunately, conflict has not yet reached the capital, Juba.

One issue the government wants to fix quickly is the oil business. Production had been put on hold for a while, which proved damaging for the country’s already brittle economy.

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A coup plot

This month the South Sudan government announced there had been a coup d’etat (a seizure of power). The Sudan Liberation People’s Army, a group loyal to the President Kiir, fought with another group loyal to the former vice President, Riek Machar. This has resulted in the death of at least 500 people.

Civil war?

Gerard Araud (President of UN Security Council) has sent warnings of a “fully-fledged war throughout the country”. Refugee camps have been set up by the UN – currently, there are 20,000 people who have taken refuge in Juba. There is a lot of conflict and tension and that is set to continue.

Is war inevitable? Should South Sudan give in to Sudan or should they fight to support the will of the people?

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Somalia’s al-Shabab – Your Questions Answered

Who are they?

  • al-Shabab means ‘The Youth’ in arabic
  • They are affiliated with al-Qaeda
  • They formed as a young radical section of the Islamic Courts Union (Sharia courts established to rival the Transitional Federal Government) in 2006, as they fought Ethiopian forces who had entered Somalia to back the weak interim government
  • Foreign jihadists (islamic militants) were reported to have helped al-Shabab
  • Places ruled under al-Shabab are subject to strict Sharia law e.g. stoning a women to death if she has committed adultery

Does al-Shabab control much of Somalia?

  • They are mainly in control of rural areas – however, they did have control over some towns and cities in the past (in August 2011 al-Shabab were forced out of the capital, Mogadishu) 
  • One port city, Kismayo, had been vital for al-Shabab to bring in supplies to areas under their control – they no longer have control of the port
  • Although this has been a big victory for the government and the African Union frequent suicide attacks are made by al-Shabab in the capital
  • They are increasingly using guerrilla warfare against the forces of the African Union
  • Since, Kenyan and Ethiopian forces have taken control over parts of the country to regain order

SOMALIA MILITIA

Who is the leader of al-Shabab?

  • The head of al-Shabab is Ahmed Abdi Godane, but is known as Mukhtar Abu Zubair 
  • However, there is some evidence to suggest his leadership is being put under pressure from a large southern breakaway section of the group
  • The previous leader, Moalim Aden Hashi Ayro, was killed by a US airstrike in 2008

al-Shabab’s foreign links

  • Joined al-Qaeda in 2012, but have been working together for longer
  • It is believed that members of al-Qaeda who are retreating from areas, such as Afghanistan, will soon seek refuge with al-Shabab in Somalia

Attacks by al-Shabab, other than in Somalia

  • In the Ugandan capital, Kampala, they committed a double suicide that killed 76 people (they were watching the 2010 world cup football final)
  • Attacks in 2002 on Israeli targets near Mombassa in Kenya

Who backs al-Shabab?

  • Eritrea, an independent state in North East Africa, is an ally, but it denies that it supplies al-Shabab with weapons
  • Eritrea dislike Ethiopia

Somalia

Somalia is pretty much a failed state. They have not had an effective government for about 20 years and have been subject to constant war. As a result, al-Shabab easily won support among Somalia’s promising security – something the citizens welcomed!

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