The North-South Border and Local Violence in the Sudan

Mar 2011 - Nov 2011

This project is analysing developments in North-South borderlands of the two Sudans (Unity State and Southern Kordonfan) since 2005. The border areas between Northern and Southern Sudan are particularly vulnerable to local insecurity and violence in the up-coming process of Southern secession. Sudanese and foreigners alike have directed their attention towards the process of demarcating the borders of Abyei, and difficulties related to the local referendum. The challenges of Abyei are however only parts of a larger problem in this contested region and a more comprehensive analysis is required.

The civil war in Southern Sudan was a classic example of a complex emergency with proliferation of small arms, a high degree of military mobilisation within the population and a constant demand for humanitarian interventions. After the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the SPLM/A and the Government of Sudan was signed in 2005, Southern Sudan entered a prolonged and difficult post-conflict recovery phase with escalating levels of local insecurity and violence. These incidents of local violence in Southern Sudan must to some degree be explained by their individual idiosyncrasies, but more general historical and systemic dynamics have also played a significant role. These dynamics have their roots in legacies of civil war and more recent political developments. Inadequate post-conflict reconstruction efforts are also a part of these dynamics: local insecurity hinders efficient implementation of interventions, and the lack of intervention provides both opportunity and motivation for criminal activity and vigilantism. A better understanding of these dynamics and the interconnectedness between local conflicts and macro politics is crucial for sustainable peacebuilding in Southern Sudan.

This project is closely affiliated with the larger initiative: Peacebuilding in Sudan: Micro- Macro Issues


Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Rolandsen, Øystein H. & Ingrid Marie Breidlid (2012) A Critical Analysis of Cultural Explanations for the Violence in Jonglei State, South Sudan, Conflict Trends(1): 49–56.

Past Events