Today, South Sudan is faced with building peace with their neighbor Sudan. The two sides fought a civil war that ended in 2005 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. But this agreement has a long way to go before becoming a genuine peace.
Last summer, fighting erupted between South Sudan and Sudan over the disputed territory of Abyei. A United Nations Security Force has been dispatched for the demilitarizing of Abyei and to ensure protection and humanitarian aid for civilians.
In South Kordofan and Blue Nile, fighting is raging. U.S. Ambassador Princeton Lyman says "conflict has been raging there since last May, arising from issues never fully resolved in the civil war because people in those states, particularly in the Nuba mountains, fought with the South."
As tensions remain high in the contested border state of Abyei, the Norwegian Refugee Council assists the wave of internally displaced persons seeking refuge in the south. (NRC Sudan photo)
By 1 June 2011, about 40,000 people displaced from Abyei after the town's takeover by Sudan Armed Forces had been registered in the Abyei area, Unity State and the greater Bahr El-Ghazal region were receiving humanitarian assistance. Photos: UNMIS/Issac Gideon.
Maban county in Upper Nile State. Tens of thousands of refugees have arrived here, fleeing conflict across the border in Sudan's Blue Nile State. Since the beginning of 2012, the UN World Food Programme has been providing food assistance to some 80,000 refugees in two camps. (WFP/Ahnna Gudmunds)
There is also internal conflict in South Sudan between rival tribes, the Lou Nuer and the Murle, that has displaced many thousands of people in the Jonglei state. These two tribes have repeatedly attacked each other over the years through cattle raids and kidnappings. The scale of their battles, though, has increased substantially in recent months.
In May a peace conference is set to begin to deal with this deadly rivalry. Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, head of the Peace, Reconciliation and Tolerance in Jonglei Committee, says, “I am expecting everybody who loves peace to participate in this process because we have lost so many people. I hope everybody will come, sit together and try to find a lasting solution for the problems.”