The Crisis in East Africa
During the past two decades, the region of East Africa has been in deep crisis. Specifically, the conflicts in Sudan have been ongoing for more than thirty years. In 2011, South Sudan was granted independence from the rest of Sudan after years of bloody civil war.
However, that didn’t end the conflicts between the Arab Muslim government in the north and the largely Christian nation in the south. Disputes regarding the border and the access to the profitable oil fields further complicated the relations between the two countries.
Since 2012, Sudan and South Sudan have reached agreements on the export and pumping of oil and have agreed to create a demilitarized zone along the border. However, neither country has fully complied with the agreement and both are associated with rebel groups fighting against their neighbor.
These issues come on the heels of two civil wars between the north and south. Fighting, famine, and disease left over two million people dead in the second civil war alone. Four million more were displaced during the war, including the Lost Boys of Sudan. These Lost Boys are the groups of over 20,000 who were forced from their homes and/or orphaned during the Second Sudanese Civil War. Millions, including the Lost Boys fled to refugee camps, and millions still reside all across Africa as a result of this diaspora.
In addition to the tension between the north and south, internal conflicts have been ravaging both countries. Currently, an ongoing conflict in the western region of Darfur in Sudan has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced nearly two million. In Southern Sudan, a conflict of political and ethnic origins, which broke out in late 2013, has caused a humanitarian emergency as hundreds of thousands are again forced to flee the fighting.
However, there is hope for this fractured region. Since the peace treaty that ended the Second Sudanese Civil War was signed in 2005, many who were displaced have returned to South Sudan to help rebuild their war-torn home. Even in the face of the recent conflict, thousands of organizations have been formed to provide support and restoration to the millions who have been scattered across East Africa.
As the fighting continues, the efforts for peace and reconciliation are only growing.
- Civil war erupts in Sudan (1983).
- Brutal fighting leads to genocide in the Darfur region, making it one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern history (2003).
- South Sudan achieves independence (2011), but fighting continues.
- 2.5 million citizens fled their homes since conflicts began. 1.5 million remained displaced.
- Nearly 4 million people are facing starvation.