Basic Facts about the Republic of South Sudan
Official Name: Republic of South Sudan
Independence Day: 9 July 2011
Capital City: Juba
Time Zone: East African Time (GMT+3)
Official Language: English
Currency: South Sudan Pound (SSDG)
Population: 8,260,490 (2008 census)
South Sudan Counties
- Budi County
- Ikotos County
- Kapoeta East County
- Kapoeta North County
- Kapoeta South County
- Lafon County
- Magwi County
- Torit County
- Akobo County
- Ayod County
- Bor County
- Twic East County
- Duk County
- Fangak County
- Pigi County
- Nyirol County
- Pibor County
- Pochalla County
- Uror County
- Boma County
- Awerial County
- Cueibet County
- Rumbek Center County
- Rumbek East County
- Rumbek North County
- Wulu County
- Yirol East County
- Yirol West County
- Abiemnhom County
- Guit County
- Koch County
- Leer County
- Mayiendit County
- Mayom County
- Ruweng County
- Panyijar County
- Rubkona County
- Baliet County
- Fashoda County
- Longechuk County
- Maban County
- Malakal County
- Manyo County
- Maiwut County
- Melut County
- Nasir County
- Panyikang County
- Renk County
- Ulang County
- Gogrial East County
- Gogrial West County
- Tonj East County
- Tonj North County
- Tonj South County
- Twic County
- Boro County
- Deim Zubeir County
- Ere County
- Kata County
- Khor Gana County
- Naarjur County
- Sopo County
- Udici County
- Wau County
India, Arab Republic of Egypt, Republic of Uganda, Republic of Kenya, State of Eritrea, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, The Great Socialist People’s Arab Jamahiriya of Libya, British Embassy, The Royal Netherlands Embassy Office Juba, Norway, Italy, The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, China, South Africa, United States, France, Turkey, Zimbabwe and Nigeria.
Representative offices include the European Union Office, Joint Donor Team Office, Arab League of Nations, African Union, Japan International Cooperation Agency, World Bank, and Swiss Cooperation Office Juba.
RSS Missions Abroad:
Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zimbabwe, Nigeria, South Africa, Australia, Norway, Belgium, United Kingdom, Canada and United States of America
Constitution: Transitional Constitution of South Sudan (2011)
The Republic of South Sudan has ten states. They include Central Equatoria (Juba), Western Equatoria (Yambio), Eastern Equatoria, (Torit), Jonglei (Bor), Unity (Bentiu), Upper Nile (Malakal), Lakes (Rumbek), Warrap (Kuacjok), Western Bahr el Ghazal (Wau), and Northern Bahr el Ghazal (Aweil).
Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM), National Congress Party (NCP), Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – Democratic Change (SPLM-DC), Sudan African National Union (SANU), United Democratic Front (UDF), Union of Sudan African Parties (USAP 1), Union of Sudan African Parties (USAP 2), South Sudan Democratic Front (SSDF), and United Democratic Salvation Front (UDSF).
At-a-glance: South Sudan (from AP)
Basic facts about South Sudan, which is due to split Africa’s largest country in two when it proclaims full independence to become the world’s newest nation.
Independence: In January 2011, south Sudan voted to secede from the north by 98.83 percent. (AFP)
South Sudan proclaims full independence on Saturday, splitting Africa’s largest country in two to become the world’s newest nation.
GEOGRAPHY: South Sudan is bordered to the east by Ethiopia, to the south by Kenya and Uganda and to the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
AREA: 589,745 square kilometres, or 227,701 square miles, or 24 percent of the whole of Sudan.
POPULATION: More than 8.5 million people, or 20 percent of the Sudanese population.
CAPITAL: Juba. Main towns: Rumbek, Malakal, Wau.
RELIGION: Mainly Christian and traditional beliefs, but many Muslims too.
LANGUAGE: English is the official language of the government. A form of Arabic also widely spoken.
HISTORY: Sudan was jointly ruled by Britain and Egypt from 1899 until independence in 1956. From 1955 until 1972 Sudan was rocked by civil war, pitting successive governments against southern rebels. The conflict ended with a treaty in 1972 that granted partial autonomy to the south. In 1983 Khartoum reneged on the accord, provoking a new civil war between north and south that left two million dead and four million displaced. John Garang formed the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army, or SPLA.
Africa’s longest war ended on January 9, 2005, when Garang signed a peace accord with Khartoum, which exempted the south from sharia, or Islamic law, and granted it six years of self-rule ahead of a referendum on independence.
In January 2011, south Sudan voted to secede from the north by 98.83 percent.
POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS: The former SPLA southern rebels partnered with their former adversaries in Khartoum to form a government of national unity in 2005, to run the country in line with a new constitution. Elections in April 2010 extended the mandate of Salva Kiir, who replaced Garang after he was killed in a helicopter accident in July 2005, as president of the south. A separate parliament was also set up in the south, headed by Kiir.
ECONOMY: After decades of devastating conflict with the north, south Sudan remains a grossly underdeveloped region, despite Sudan’s current 6.7 billion barrels of oil reserves. Of the 470,000 barrels per day pumped pre-independence, three quarters come from the south and border regions. The oil, which provides up to 98 percent of south Sudan’s income, is exported by pipeline through the north to the Red Sea.
The south is also rich in other minerals including uranium and has vast agricultural potential that remains largely unexploited because of the war.
ARMED FORCES: The Sudan People’s Liberation Army has around 140,000 troops, according to the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey.
Nearly 10,000 peacekeeping soldiers from the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), whose mandate expires on July 9, are deployed in the north and south.
South Sudan Profile (from the BBC).
- Full name: Republic of South Sudan
- Population: 7.5-9.7 million (UN estimate, 2006)
- Capital: Juba
- Area: 619,745 sq km (239,285 sq miles)
- Major languages: English, Arabic (both official), Juba Arabic, Dinka, others
- Major religions: Traditional religions, Christianity
- Life expectancy: N/A
- Monetary unit: Sudanese pound
- Main exports: Oil
- GNI per capita: N/A
- Internet domain: .sd (as part of Sudan)
- International dialling code: +249
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on 9 July 2011 as the outcome of a 2005 peace deal that ended Africa’s longest-running civil war.
An overwhelming majority of South Sudanese voted in a January 2011 referendum to secede and become Africa’s first new country since Eritrea split from Ethiopia in 1993.
The new nation stands to benefit from inheriting the bulk of Sudan’s oil wealth, but continuing disputes with Khartoum and a lack of economic development cloud its immediate future.
Formed from the 10 southern-most states of Sudan, South Sudan is a land of expansive grassland, swamps and tropical rain forest straddling both banks of the White Nile.
It is highly diverse ethnically and linguistically. Among the largest ethnic groups are the Dinka, Nuer and Shilluk.
Unlike the predominantly Muslim population of Sudan, the South Sudanese follow traditional religions, while a minority are Christians.
As Sudan prepared to gain independence from joint British and Egyptian rule in 1956, southern leaders accused the new authorities in Khartoum of backing out of promises to create a federal system, and of trying to impose an Islamic and Arabic identity.
In 1955, southern army officers mutinied, sparking off a civil war between the south, led by the Anya Nya guerrilla movement, and the Sudanese government.
The conflict only ended when the Addis Ababa peace agreement of 1972 accorded the south a measure of autonomy.
But, in 1983, the south, led by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and its armed wing, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), again rose in rebellion when the Sudanese government cancelled the autonomy arrangements.
At least 1.5 million people are thought to have lost their lives and more than four million were displaced in the ensuing 22 years of guerrilla warfare. Large numbers of South Sudanese fled the fighting, either to the north or to neighbouring countries, where many remain.
The conflict finally ended with the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, under which the south was granted regional autonomy along with guaranteed representation in a national power-sharing government.
The agreement also provided for a referendum in the south on independence in 2011, in which 99% of southern Sudanese voted to split from Sudan.
Long based on subsistence agriculture, South Sudan’s economy is now highly oil-dependent. While an estimated 75% of all the former Sudan’s oil reserves are in South Sudan, the refineries and the pipeline to the Red Sea are in Sudan.
Under the 2005 accord, South Sudan received 50% of the former united Sudan’s oil proceeds, which provide the vast bulk of the country’s budget. But that arrangement was set to expire with independence.
In January 2012, the breakdown of talks on the sharing of oil revenues led South Sudan to halt oil production and halve public spending on all but salaries.
Despite the potential oil wealth, South Sudan is one of Africa’s least developed countries. However, the years since the 2005 peace accord ushered in an economic revival and investment in utilities and other infrastructure.
Alongside the oil issue, several border disputes with Sudan continue to strain ties. The main row is over border region of Abyei, where a referendum for the residents to decide whether to join south or north has been delayed over voter eligibility.
The conflict is rooted in a dispute over land between farmers of the pro-South Sudan Dinka Ngok people and cattle-herding Misseriya Arab tribesmen.
Another border conflict zone is the Nuba Mountains region of Sudan’s South Kordofan state, where violence continues between the largely Christian and pro-SPLA Nuba people and northern government forces.
Inside South Sudan, a cattle-raiding feud between rival ethnic groups in Jonglei state has left hundreds of people dead and some 100,000 displaced since independence.
And several rebel forces opposed to the SPLM-dominated government have emerged, including the South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA) of Peter Gadet and a force led former SPLA general George Athor. Juba says these forces are funded by Sudan, which denies the accusation.
President: Salva Kiir Mayardiit
Salva Kiir Mayardit became president of South Sudan – then still part of Sudan – and head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in 2005, succeeding long-time rebel leader John Garang, who died in a helicopter crash.
Mr Kiir was re-elected as president in multiparty polls in the south in April 2010. On South Sudan’s independence in July 2011, he became president of the new state.
Prior to independence, he was also vice-president of Sudan, under the power-sharing arrangements put in place in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
During a historic first visit to Sudan since independence, Salva Kiir in October 2011 ruled out a return armed conflict between the new neighbours, despite continuing tensions.
He has also taken a tough line on corruption, and in September 2011 announced several measures to combat it, including plans to subjectgovernment contracts to procurement legislation and make officials publish their assets and earnings.
Having fought in the south’s first civil war in the 1960s, Mr Kiir joined the Sudanese army after the 1972 peace agreement. He defected to the rebels again on the resumption of fighting in 1983, later emerging as the SPLM’s military leader.
Born in 1951 in Bahr al-Ghazal state, he is a Christian and – like his, predecessor John Garang – a member of the Dinka, the largest ethnic group in South Sudan.
Widely thought to lack Mr Garang’s charisma, Mr Kiir has a reputation for intelligence, integrity and being able to reconcile ethnic or political opponents.
South Sudan’s fledgling media face immense logistical, economic, social and political challenges.
Newsgathering can be problematic and the communications infrastructure is poor.
Radio is the most popular medium, and scores of private stations, some with foreign funding, have sprung up.
The Catholic Church and Internews, a US-based media development organisation, are key radio players. The BBC World Service broadcasts to Juba on 90 FM (Arabic) and 88.2 FM (English).
Though expensive for many locals, newspapers rank second to radio in popularity. Most of the titles circulating in South Sudan publish in English. There is a terrestrial TV station – government-operated Southern Sudan TV.
Media freedom is fragile, with the existence of armed groups, weak legal institutions and political pressures undermining free reporting. Journalists risk arrest over reports that criticise the government and the ruling party.
There have been reported seizures of newspapers, or disruption of their distribution, by the authorities.
Web access is limited to the main towns. Diaspora members tend to be the most active social network users.
- The Juba Post – privately-owned
- The Citizen – privately-owned
- Sudan Mirror – privately-owned
- Southern Sudan Radio – government-run
- Miraya FM – operated by the UN Mission in Sudan
- Bakhita Radio – Catholic
- Sudan Radio Service – NGO-operated
- Southern Sudan TV – government-run
Rebel leader John Garang, who fought more than 20 years for independence, died in 2005
1962 – Civil war led by the southern seperatist Anya Nya movement begins with north.
1969 – Group of socialist and communist Sudanese military officers led by Col Jaafar Muhammad Numeiri seizes power; Col Numeiri outlines policy of autonomy for south.
1972 – Government of Sudanese President Jaafar Numeiri concedes a measure of autonomy for southern Sudan in a peace agreement signed in Addis Ababa.
1978 – Oil discovered in Unity State in southern Sudan.
Second civil war1983 – Fighting breaks out again between north and south Sudan, under leadership of John Garang’s Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), after Sudanese President Jaafar Numeiri abolishes South Sudan’s autonomy.
1988 – Democratic Unionist Party – part of Sudan’s ruling coalition government – drafts cease-fire agreement with the SPLM, but it is not implemented.
1989 – Military seizes power in Sudan.
- The second Sudanese civil war lasted from 1983-2005
1993 – Revolution Command Council dissolved after Omar Bashir is appointed president of Sudan.
2001 – Sudanese Islamist leader Hassan Al-Turabi’s party, the Popular National Congress, signs memorandum of understanding with the southern rebel SPLM’s armed wing, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). Mr Al-Turabi is arrested the next day.
Sudanese government accepts Libyan-Egyptian initiative to end the Sudanese civil war after failure of peace talks between SPLM leader John Garang and President Omar Bashir in Nairobi.
2002 – SPLA and Sudanese sign agreement on six-month renewable cease-fire in central Nuba Mountains – a key rebel stronghold.
Talks in Kenya lead to a breakthrough agreement between southern rebels and Sudanese government on ending the civil war. The Machakos Protocol provides for the south to seek self-determination after six years.
North-south peace deal2005 January – North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ends civil war; deal provides for a permanent ceasefire, autonomy for the south, a power-sharing government involving rebels in Khartoum and a south Sudanese referendum on independence in six years’ time.
Abyei has been the focus of a smouldering dispute with Sudan
2005 July – Former southern rebel leader John Garang is sworn in as first vice-president. A new Sudanese constitution which gives the south a large degree of autonomy is signed.
2005 August – South Sudanese leader John Garang is killed in a plane crash. He is succeeded by Salva Kiir Mayardiit. Mr Garang’s death sparks deadly clashes in the capital between southern Sudanese and northern Arabs.
2005 September – Power-sharing government is formed in Khartoum.
2005 October – Autonomous government is formed in South Sudan, in line with the January 2005 peace deal. The administration is dominated by former rebels.
Fragile peace2006 November – Hundreds die in fighting centred on the southern town of Malakal – the heaviest between northern Sudanese forces and former rebels since the 2005 peace deal.
2007 October – SPLM temporarily suspends participation in national unity government, accusing Khartoum of failing to honour the 2005 peace deal.
2007 December – SPLM resumes participation in national unity government.
2008 March – Tensions rise over clashes between an Arab militia and SPLM in the disputed Abyei area on the north-south divide – a key sticking point in the 2005 peace accord.
Tension over Abyei2008 May – Dominic Dim Deng, defence minister in southern Sudan’s autonomous government, is killed in a plane crash.
Independence was backed by 99% of South Sudanese in the 2011 referendum
Intense fighting breaks out between northern and southern forces in disputed oil-rich town of Abyei.
2008 June – Southern Sudanese leader Salva Kiir and Sudanese President Omar Bashir agree to seek international arbitration to resolve dispute over Abyei.
2008 October – Allegations that Ukrainian tanks hijacked off the coast of Somalia were bound for southern Sudan spark fears of an arms race between the North and former rebels in the South.
2009 June – Khartoum government denies it is supplying arms to ethnic groups in the south to destabilise the region.
South Sudanese leader Salva Kiir warns his forces are being re-organised to be ready for any return to war with the north.
Ex-foreign minister Lam Akol splits from South’s ruling SPLM to form new party, SPLM-Democratic Change.
2009 July – North and south Sudan say they accept ruling by arbitration court in The Hague shrinking disputed Abyei region and placing the major Heglig oil field in the north.
Independence referendum2009 December – Leaders of North and South reach deal on terms of referendum on independence due in South by 2011.
Numerous rebellions have arisen in the run-up to South Sudan’s independence
2010 January – President Omar Bashir says he would accept referendum result, even if South opted for independence.
2011 January – The people of South Sudan vote in favour of full independence from Sudan.
2011 February – Clashes between the security forces and rebels in southern Sudan’s Jonglei state leave more than 100 dead.
Fighting breaks out near Abyei.
2011 March – Government of South Sudan says it is suspending talks with the North, accusing it of plotting a coup.
2011 May – North occupies disputed border region of Abyei.
2011 June – Governments of north and south Sudan sign accord to demilitarize the disputed Abyei region and let in an Ethiopian peacekeeping force.
New state born2011 9 July – Independence day.
2011 August – UN says at least 600 people are killed in ethnic clashes in the state of Jonglei.
2011 September – South Sudan’s cabinet votes to designate Ramciel – a planned city in Unity State – as the future capital.
2011 October – President Salva Kiir makes historic first visit Khartoum since independence. South Sudan and Sudan agree to set up several committees tasked with resolving their outstanding disputes.
At 75 people are killed when rebels of the South Sudan Liberation Army attack the town of Mayom, in Unity State.
2011 November – South Sudan blames Sudan for the aerial bombardment of a refugee camp in Yida, in Unity State; Sudan’s army denies being responsible.
2012 January – South Sudan declares a disaster in Jonglei State after some 100,000 flee clashes between rival ethnic groups.
2012 February – Sudan and South Sudan sign non-aggression pact at talks on outstanding secession issues, but Sudan then shuts down the South’s oil export pipelines in a dispute over fees. South Sudan halves public spending on all but salaries in consequence.
2012 March – Around 100 people are killed in raids on cattle camps in Jonglei State by rival ethnic groups.
The Republic of South Sudan – the roadmap to independence
A new chapter in the geopolitical tale of two countries opens on Saturday as South Sudan gains nationhood. But how did we reach this point?
When the European governments sliced up Africa at the end of the 1800s, the vast, arid zone of the Sahara and the Sahel was intended to be French. But a plan by France to build a huge dam for irrigation on the Nile, which would have diverted the water, alarmed the British.
The British panicked that any diversion would result in the Nile no longer reaching Cairo. Egypt was the door to India, and the route to India had to be British controlled.
To ensure this door remained open, the thinking went that Egypt must remain under British influence to control the eastern Mediterranean and the newly acquired Suez Canal. As Egypt depended on the Nile, so the Nile – right up to its source in Uganda – must also be British.
After a stand-off in southern Sudan, the French withdrew and Britain took over the Nile basin and created Sudan.
Britain also pursued its mission to abolish slavery in Africa. That meant stopping its Egyptian allies and the northern, Arabised Sudanese Muslims enslaving the black African southerners.
So the British ruled Sudan as two separate territories until 1946. In the north they simply retrained the class of civil servants who had served the Ottoman Empire and the Islamist ruler known as the Mahdi. In the south they ruled through the chiefs and kings of more than 200 ethnic groups. Northerners were not allowed to spread Islam in the south but Christian missionaries were encouraged. Only in the north did the British instigate any development. The south was ruled but left to rot.
In the lead-up to independence in 1956 southern army officers – still referred to as Abayid, slaves by some northerners – rebelled. This turned into a full-scale battle for independence six years later and it lasted until a peace treaty in 1972.
But the south and southerners were still discriminated against, and a new rebellion started in 1983. Officially this was not for independence but for a united, secular, democratic Sudan. The rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement had many northern followers in the early days. But, apart from John Garang, its leader, all the SPLM members I have spoken with admitted in private that the ultimate solution was separation and independence of the south.
In Khartoum, the capital, you would have barely known there was a war on. The chattering classes rarely spoke about it, the newspapers rarely reported it. But on the outskirts of the city, vast shanty towns made of cardboard and plastic sheeting grew like fungus.
More than a million southerners camped out on the fringes of the city, having fled the war zones and living on handouts from aid agencies. The only thing the government did for them was occasionally to send in the police to bulldoze their settlements, driving the people further out into the desert.
In the south, the war was like a boxing match on a football pitch. In the rainy season the SPLA fighters would attack small towns, lay mines on the roads and ambush vehicles. In the dry season, the government troops would advance out of the towns and drive the SPLA back into the bush or across the border into Ethiopia which supported the SPLA.
No development took place. There were few schools, almost no hospitals or medical centres and no roads or economic development. Outside the war zones people lived much as they had for thousands of years, many probably unaware they were in a country called Sudan.
In the war zones thousands of young men were seized by the SPLA and force-marched across the border into Ethiopia to be trained as fighters. Others were forcibly recruited in the Sudan government army. Today the human condition in South Sudan is appalling. Infant mortality rates are estimated to be around 150 per thousand births, the worst in the world.
One effect of 9/11 was that the US started looking for solutions to conflicts throughout the world that involved Islamist fundamentalism.
The brutal, but smart and pragmatic, regime in Khartoum was now courted, and a peace process began. Oil had just begun to flow and the revenues were pouring into Khartoum’s coffers.
The faction in the capital who preferred to establish an Islamic state in the north and let go of the south dominated those who wanted to retain a united Sudan at all costs.
The US-brokered talks between the government and the SPLA culminated in a peace agreement in 2002, though how many in Khartoum took independence seriously is doubtful. The southerners felt they had won and in the referendum early this year voted almost 100% for independence.
The new government has almost no capacity to run a village, let alone a country. The political bosses are almost all former military men best known for their duplicity and greed and all of them bedevilled by tribalism and factionalism. Throughout the war many of them changed sides, some several times, taking money and positions from the Khartoum government whenever it suited them. Grotesque palaces are sprouting up around Juba, the new capital. The long-suffering population is as poor as ever, uneducated with little access to trade or markets.
Landlocked and desperately poor, South Sudan is also at the heart of a troubled zone with not a single decent road to the outside world. Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army is still on the rampage in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic to the west.
To the east there are periodic uprisings in Ethiopia’s south-west provinces. And to the north lies their old enemy which has its hands on the oil tap and the oil revenue. The pipeline goes north-east to the Red Sea but now most of the oil lies under the south.
And the border is not yet agreed. The border regions that supported the SPLA are now being ethnically cleansed by Khartoum’s army.
Khartoum will almost certainly ensure that the south remains divided by funding and arming enemies of the new government.