South Sudan rebels and government officials signed a ceasefire agreement today at a conference in Ethiopia ending one month of fighting in the African nation. The United Nations estimates that the recent fighting had claimed the lives of over 1,000 South Sudan citizens and forced at least 500,000 from their homes. South Sudan gained independence after a 2011 referendum, making it the youngest state in the world, but its short history has been marred by much violence.
The crisis began as a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and Riek Mechar, who was formerly the Vice President of South Sudan. The conflict quickly enflamed racial tensions however and it expanded beyond a political issue and into a violent and deadly confrontation. It is hoped that today’s ceasefire agreement will put South Sudan on the path to stability.
By Christopher V. Spencer