Worldfocus.org’s weekly radio show explores tensions in South Sudan, the site of a two-decade civil war between the Muslim north and mostly Christian south that killed more than 1.5 million people. The south is also home to 80 percent of Sudan’s oil.
The war came to an end in 2005 with the signing of a peace agreement that exempted the south from Islamic Sharia law and established a regional southern government as well as a system of shared oil revenues. But with increasingly deadly tribal violence in South Sudan and a humanitarian crisis that could soon eclipse that in Darfur, trouble is brewing once more.
In a conference on Sudan in Washington last week, leaders from the north and south pledged to avoid a return to war.
South Sudan is set for a referendum on independence in 2011 and many in the region hope that the vote will allow a break from Khartoum once and for all, creating a new African nation. Others remain wary, pointing to corruption and incompetence on the part of South Sudan’s government and accusing leaders of squandering oil revenues.
Worldfocus anchor Martin Savidge hosted the following guests:
Eric Reeves is a professor at Smith College and has spent the past 10 years researching Sudan. He has testified several times before the Congress and served as a consultant to human rights and humanitarian organizations in Sudan. He is the author of “A Long Day’s Dying,” a book about Darfur. He contributes to the blog Making Sense of Darfur.
Sunday Taabu left South Sudan at the height of the civil war in 1991. She is the founder of the South Sudan Institute for Women’s Education and Leadership and previously worked for the Government of Southern Sudan’s Mission to the U.S.
The show also includes audio clips from:
A Worldfocus interview with Scott Gration, the U.S. envoy to Sudan on the importance of the region to the United States.
Peter Wankomo, who fled Sudan during the civil war and now lives in Canada. He’s the editor of a website, “South Sudan Nation,” which lobbies for the south’s independence.
A clip from Jen Marlowe’s forthcoming film, “Rebuilding Hope,” featuring a minister in the government of South Sudan and a woman living in the rural village of Akon. Both comment on what’s changed since the peace agreement and the end of the war.