Home | News    Saturday 22 October 2011

South Sudan’s Unity State faces storm of challenges, ICG says


October 20, 2011 (NAIROBI) – Unity state on South Sudan’s northern frontier faces multiple challenges which threaten its continued destabilisation and exemplify concerns across the newborn country, a new report has warned.

JPEG - 12.9 kb
Unity state governor Taban Deng Gai (AFP)

The International Crisis Group (ICG), a Brussels-based research organisation, this week issued its first report on South Sudan since it gained independence from Sudan in July this year, choosing to focus on oil-rich Unity state.

Unity, whose population is predominantly Nuer, lies on the border with north Sudan and contains the bulk of South Sudan’s known oil reserves, making it the main source of revenue for oil-dependent South Sudan.

According to the ICG’s report, titled “South Sudan: Compounding Instability in Unity State", the strategic state faces “a perfect storm of political, social, economic and security dilemmas,” which demands particular solutions.

The state was steeped in controversy during the April 2010 state elections, in the then united Sudan, when the incumbent governor from the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), Taban Deng, was announced to be the winner over his leading contender Angelina Teny, who left the SPLM to stand as an independent candidate.

Violence ensued following the announcement of the result and Teny, who happens to be the wife of South Sudan’s Vice-President Riek Machar, alleged the vote was rigged.

ICG’s report examines a set of factors fueling instability in Unity state, including the several armed rebellions which emerged in the state since April last year.

Some rebel militias are still active in Unity but the most prominent rebel commander, Peter Gadet, returned to the SPLM/A’s fold in August.

Another key rebel commander, Gatluak Gai, was shot dead on 23 July, a few days after he signed an agreement to integrate his forces into the SPLA.

ICG noted that although some rebel commanders appear to be motivated by “personal or professional gain” and some were encouraged by elements within the north, rebel militia activities highlight “internal fractures and latent grievances.”

As far as ICG’s report is concerned, the factors fueling instability in Unity run deeper than the armed rebellions to include “a governance crisis with national subtext, territorial disputes, cross-border tensions, economic isolation, development deficits and a still tenuous North-South relationship.”

The ICG’s report opines that divisive party politics in Unity state, including the “ongoing competition” between the state’s governor Taban Deng and Riek Machar, are in many ways a “manifestation of a broader national politics.”

The report also talks of widespread local resentment with the “crisis of politics,” in Unity, citing controversy surrounding Governor Taban Deng and the support he enjoys from Juba as well as the perceived misuse of the state’s petroleum revenues and the conspicuous lack of development.

ICG’s report goes on to highlight disputes over management of the oil sector and state boundaries as well as persistence of cross-border tension in view of the interruption in recent years of the migration of the Al-Missiryah tribe.

The report recommended the assumption of "greater oil sector responsibility," saying that rigorous regulations of land-acquisition and government oversight “are necessary to protect the rights and interests of local populations.”

Now that South Sudan’s independence has been achieved, ICG says, focus is shifting to latent political, security, social and economic challenges at home.

"Nowhere are the challenges deferred more evident than in Unity state,” the report said, acknowledging that “untangling Unity’s web of intersecting challenges will prove no easy task."


Note from editors: Readers are advised to read the full text of the ICG’s report, attached below, for a detailed account of these issues and others, including oil-related challenges, the Khartoum-imposed blockade of trade routes to the south, the spillover from South Kordofan’s conflict on Unity, cross-border migration etc.

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 22 October 2011 18:33, by LT Gen Madut

    I don’t blame Taban but Kiir for his poor leadership...O God save ROSS

    repondre message

    • 24 October 2011 07:01, by dengtaath

      The way I have observed the comments above, is an indication that we have come to learn the problem of our country, the above mentioned states problems specially the Unity state is fueled by central government. Governor Taban has lost his popularity so long ago but the government of Kiir Mayardit insisted him to retain his position,and this has become a clearly problem to the state.

      repondre message

Comment on this article

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

Implications of al-Bashir’s regime dismantling 2019-12-12 21:08:55 By Alhadi A. Khalifa The enactment of the law of dismantling the regime of Omar Albashir on 28 November 2019 represents a turning point in the march of the Sudanese revolution given its (...)

Security Arrangements in Sudan: Achilles heels of peace and democratic transformation 2019-12-10 05:47:59 By Elwathig Kameir This article is intended to act as an eye-opener for all the Sudanese political forces. It aims to shed light on the huge challenges that will be faced by the December (...)

Egypt final push to secure zero-sum water-share agreement 2019-12-09 14:11:32 By Ermias Hailu After Egypt’s failure to integrate Eritrea to its territories by the end of the second world war, due to Emperor Haile Selassie’s superior diplomatic skills, the then Egyptian Pan- (...)


Latest Press Releases

S. Korea supports UN communities building resilience project in Sudan’s Blue Nile 2019-09-09 09:26:41 UNDP Sudan September 5, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - An agreement was signed on 5th of September between the Korean Ambassador, His Excellency. Lee Ki-Seong and Dr. Selva Ramachandran, Resident (...)

Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders back calls for civil rule 2019-04-26 10:22:06 Press statement by 55 Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders on Sudan Sit-in and Peaceful Protest Khartoum -24/04/2019 We, the undersigned (55) Sudanese lawyers and human rights defenders, (...)

South Sudan’s Lafon youth condemn killings of civilians by Pari community 2019-04-03 21:54:29 Press Statement on the Fighting between Pari/ Pacidi and Lotuko/Lokiri on 24/3/2019 Release by The Lafon County Youth Union: We, the Lafon County Youth Union hereby condemn the atrocities and (...)


Copyright © 2003-2019 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.