The conflict in South Sudan became the only viable violent way of expressing underlying discontentment with the style of governance adopted by the incumbent government and unresolved issues from the 1991 split which occurred when Dr. Riak Machar, one of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) leaders at the time, now turned rebel leader, fell out with Dr. John Garang, the chairman of the SPLM/A. The split, notably referred to as the “Nassir split”, led communities from both the Dinka and Nuer tribes to turn against each other. The referendum, a consequence of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the government in Khartoum, Sudan, and the SPLM/A, led to an overwhelming vote for secession, later paving way for the subsequent independence of South Sudan in 2011. The existing tension took on a violent expression. The article analyses occurrences the SPLM/A command pursued on a secessionist agenda in the 21 years of armed struggle and the attainment of independence on the 9 July 2011. It further denotes the insurgents’ pursuit of armed confrontation and the government’s response to the belligerents’ actions, while providing a genesis of the belligerence and laws governing non–international armed conflicts.
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