With independence on July 9th 2011, South Sudan became the youngest nation of the world. It was the result of a series of civil wars and conflict lasting over decades. Soon after, though, South Sudan fell back into a cycle of conflict. A peace agreement, signed in 2005 under the pressure of the international community, brought South Sudan more autonomy. Some regions in the border area remain disputed due to a failed referendum over their affiliation to the north or the south.
Rebels from the Nuba Mountains, situated on the Sudanese side of the border, continue to defend their positions against the relentless attacks from Sudanese government under Omar Hassan Al-Bashir. Since the 1990’s frequent clashes and air raids by the Sudanese Armed Forces threaten the Nuban population.In 2012, South Sudan briefly took control over some oil-rich regions on the Sudanese side of the border, including the town of Heglig.
Following a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his deputy, Riek Machar, civil war broke out in December 2013. A lack of central control led to heavy fighting between government (SPLA/M), the opposition (SPLA/M-IO), and smaller militias. Countless atrocities against civilians were recorded. Tens of thousands of people were killed since 2013, more than 3.5 million people have fled the violence, about half of them to neighboring countries. The United Nations in February 2017 declared a famine in parts of the country. Oil-rich South Sudan is currently home to the largest refugee crisis in Africa.