South Sudan became an independent state on July
9, 2011 when Sudan was split into a northern and a
southern part. The split was preceded by a dramatic
referendum that led to the historic change of Africa's
map. The hope of a better life that the inhabitants wore
after decades of war against northern Sudan was soon
shattered. The time after independence has been marked
by power struggles and civil war. Although the country
has plenty of oil, the majority lives in severe poverty.
Brief profiles of South Sudan, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Most of South Sudan is made up of a vast
lowland, which in the southeast turns into higher
mountains. The White Nile and Suddträsken characterize
the landscape. The terrain consists of savannah or
marshland in the lowlands and rainforest in the mountain
areas. South Sudan has a tropical climate with high
temperature and humidity.
The White Nile is one of the main branches of the
world's longest river Nile. It flows into the country
from Uganda to the south and continues north through the
capital Juba. To the north, the White Nile branches into
a very papyrus swamp, called Sudd, which dominates the
central part of the country. Sudd covers almost
one-sixth of the country's surface and is one of the
world's largest wetlands. Western South Sudan is a
South Sudan is almost one and a half times the size
of Sweden, but its borders are not fully established.
Historically, there has been no marked boundary between
northern and southern Sudan. Livestock nomads have
freely driven their herds across the border area since
ancient times, depending on the season and water supply
for the animals.
The temperature in the lowlands oscillates between 23
and 34 degrees. It is warmer in the lowlands than up in
the mountains in the southeast, where the temperature
can fall below 20 degrees.
The rainy season falls between April and October
while there is hardly any rainfall at all in December
and January. It rains most in the mountains while the
rainfall decreases further north. On average, it rains
around 1,500 mm per year.
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
620 000 km2 (2018) 1
Swedish +2 hours
Adjacent country (s)
Sudan, Central African Republic, Congo-Kinshasa,
Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia
Capital with number of inhabitants
Juba ca 403 200 (with suburbs; UN estimate) (2020)
Other major cities
Jabal Kinyeti (3,187 m asl)
The White Nile
Average Precipitation / year
about 1,500 mm
Average / day
23–34 °C throughout the year
- border crossing towards Sudan is partly
2. government announced in 2011 that the capital
should be gradually moved to Ramciel in central
Thousands dead and tens of thousands on the run
On Monday Christmas, Kenya's President and Ethiopian Prime Minister will come
to Juba in an attempt to mediate. At the same time, the UN estimates that at
least 90,000 people have become homeless in the past ten days and that 58,000 of
them have sought protection at UN shelters. The number of dead in the fighting
is vague in the word "thousands".
The UN force almost doubles
The Security Council approves the extension of UNmiss (UN mission in South
Sudan) by close to 6,000 soldiers.
Hard fighting in Unity and Upper Nile
After a few days, the army states that it has taken back Bor but lost control
of two other state capitals: Bentiu in oil-rich Unity and Malakal in the Upper
Nile. Both cities are reported during the Christmas season of hard fighting.
The outside world is reacting to the civil war
Foreigners are trying to leave the country. The United States and the United
Kingdom send aircraft to evacuate their citizens. Four American soldiers are
injured when their aircraft is shot during an evacuation effort in Bor. Four
neighboring countries send their foreign ministers to Juba to try to mediate.
President Kiir says he is willing to negotiate with Machar. Two Indian UN
soldiers and at least eleven civilians from the Dinka group are killed when
youth from the Nuer people storm a UN base in Jonglei.
The battles spread to other places
The rebel soldiers are reported to have taken control of the state of
Jonglei's "capital" Bor, about 20 miles north of Juba. The battles are marked by
old contradictions between the Dinka and Nuer people groups. The government
announces that ten people have been arrested, including seven former ministers.
Machar, who is wanted by the army, denies that this is a coup attempt.
Struggles erupt in the capital
Struggles break out in Juba between rival groups of government soldiers.
President Kiir says the fighting has been launched by soldiers loyal to Machar
and describes it all as an attempt at a coup d'état. According to the UN, at
least 450 people were killed during the first 24 hours, including about 100
soldiers. More than 40,000 civilians are seeking protection at UN facilities
around the country.
Sharp criticism of President Kiir
A number of prominent politicians in a joint statement accuse President Kiir
of acting as a dictator. Among the signatories are the recently dismissed Riek
Machar and Pagan Amum (see July 2013). A former Minister of Justice, a former
Minister of Security and Rebecca Garang, widow of the country's former leader
John Garang, are also among the president's critics.
Contested referendum in Abyei
The resident Dinka population (with ethnic ties to South Sudan) in Abyei, on
its own initiative, is conducting a "referendum" on whether the area should
belong to Sudan or South Sudan. The nomadic Arab folk group Misseriya, with
bands north, protests against the initiative. Neither government recognizes the
referendum, which the AU condemns as "unacceptable and irresponsible".
Unsurprisingly, 99 percent of participants want Abyei to join South Sudan.
Tens of thousands of fake police officers are discovered
The Ministry of the Interior fears that about half of the national police
force does not exist. So far, 11,000 of the police's presumed 52,000 employees
have turned out to be false, says the interior minister. Another 16,000 names
are under investigation. By getting thousands of non-existent people on the job
listings, corrupt officials have been able to seize their salaries. According to
the interior minister, the state will save up to the equivalent of SEK 60
million per month by deleting the false names.
New Vice President is appointed
President Kiir nominates President James Wani Igga as new Vice President. The
election is later approved by Parliament.
New government - without Riek Machar
President Kiir appoints a new government. Minister of Defense will be Kuol
Manyang, who was most recently governor of Jonglei. So far, no new Vice
President is named after Riek Machar, who will be without a ministerial post.
Neither does SPLM's former secretary general Pagan Amum receive any new
Destructive mass shootings
President Kiir dismisses the entire government, Vice President Riek Machar,
SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum and 17 senior police chiefs. For the time
being, experts will take care of the ministry's ongoing affairs. No explanation
is given to the mass dismissals.
Regional cooperation for conflict resolution
Experts from the AU and the regional cooperation organization Igad are
starting to investigate Sudan's and South Sudan's mutual allegations of support
for rebel movements in the neighboring country. They also begin work on trying
to push a boundary through the demilitarized buffer zone in Abyei.
The fighting hardens in Jonglei
Large associations of lou nues are reported to have advanced far into areas
normally dominated by the rival group murle. According to UN staff, the fighting
means that more than 100,000 people cannot be reached by emergency aid.
Border crossings should be opened
Sudan and South Sudan agree to open ten border crossings.
Oil recovery is started
After more than a year's rest, oil begins to be recovered in a field in
Deadly attack on the UN force
Five Indian UN soldiers and seven local civilian personnel linked to the UN
force Unmiss are killed in an ambush in Jonglei. It is unclear who is behind the
Army offensive in Jonglei
The army is reported to have gone on offensive in the state of Jonglei
against rebels belonging to the murle people group, which runs counter to the
more government-friendly lou nuer.
Journalists are caught
State authorities in Bahr al-Ghazal arrest two reporters at the state radio's
local editorial office for not monitoring President Kiir's visit. According to
the state government, the president gave a "very, very important speech" in the
city of Wau that should have been referenced. The organization Committe to
Protect Journalists (CPJ) believes that the arrests are linked to the
authorities' attempts to find out who has advised foreign media about the unrest