Mapping the Sources of Conflict and Insecurity in South Sudan: Living in Fear under a Newly-Won Freedom
Author/s: Jok Madut Jok
Organization: The Sudd Institute
Type: Special Reports
Ethnic violence continues to plague rural communities across South Sudan, in many cases preventing citizens from enjoying the benefits of peace and the promises of independence.
This violence, combined with the trend of rising urban crime, the actions of security forces, the targeting of foreign laborers, and the weakness of the justice system, means that South Sudan is a society living in fear.
In the eyes of many South Sudanese, the state has consistently appeared weak or complacent in the face of these complex and varied security challenges.
The government is burdened by South Sudan’s history and by the need to juggle the many interests at play in the new country due to the various liberation ideologies and factions that proliferated during the independence struggle.
In the absence of functioning law enforcement and judiciary systems to address the uptick of insecurity and violence in urban centers, the country is left in a climate of accusations and rumors.
Instead of freedom, security, and hopes for a new future, many South Sudanese say all they have experienced so far is increased violence and disappointment that their own government is not guaranteeing their safety.
Jok Madut Jok is cofounder of the Sudd Institute. Born and raised in Sudan, Jok studied in Egypt and the United States. He is trained in the anthropology of health and holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Jok recently joined the Government of South Sudan as undersecretary in the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. He was a J. Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and a fellow at the Rift Valley Institute. He is a Professor in the Department of History at Loyola Marymount University in California, from which he is on an extended leave. He has also worked in aid and development, first as a humanitarian aid worker and has been a consultant for a number of aid agencies. He is the author of three books and numerous articles covering gender, sexuality and reproductive health, humanitarian aid, ethnography of political violence, gender-based violence, war and slavery, and the politics of identity in Sudan. His book Sudan: Race, Religion and Violence, was published in 2007. Jok is co-editor of The Sudan Handbook, 2010.