It has not yet been a week, but South Sudan’s most recent ceasefire appears set to collapse, along with hopes that – after five months of fighting – the country might finally be on the path to recovery.
South Sudan is taking the first steps in what promises to be a long process of healing the fractures that prompted more than five weeks of fighting, potentially leaving thousands of people dead and wounded and displacing 863,000 others.
The overwhelming job of providing relief to the more than half a million displaced and wounded in South Sudan may have gotten a little easier with the signing of a ceasefire agreement last night in Addis Ababa, which is set to go into effect today.
The non-binding referendum in Abyei – where people voted overwhelmingly to join South Sudan – and the ensuing celebration, has brought little immediate resolution to the long-festering Abyei problem.
When Chris Bak returned two weeks ago to the disputed border town of Abyei, which voted this week on whether to join Sudan or South Sudan, he barely recognised it as the place where he grew up. “Everything is dirty,” he told IPS. “We were just going around and around, but we didn’t [recognise] this place.”
Every day at least five women are brought to the gynaecological ward of Uganda’s Mulago National Referral Hospital in Kampala for treatment for complications caused by crude attempts to terminate their pregnancies.
Three years ago, after Irene Kamyuka finished her sixth year of primary school in Uganda, her father ran short of money. With four siblings ahead of her in school, Kamyuka’s father told her she would have to drop out until his finances turned around.
In the face of rising public criticism over a range of controversial political manoeuvres, the Ugandan government has become increasingly hostile to the work of non-governmental organisations, particularly those advocating for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch.
As soon as Sanyu Nagia sits down outside Barbara Namirimu’s home, she asks to see her patient’s bag of medicine. It is too heavy for the ill Namirimu to carry, so her mother, Efrance Namakula, brings it out and hands it over.
As the process of reintegrating South Sudan’s child soldiers into their old lives begins soon, the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army renewal of its lapsed commitment to release all child soldiers from its ranks in March could mean that within two years children will no longer constitute part of the country’s militia groups.
Before Bor B Primary School built latrines on the school grounds two years ago, students would leave during their first break to head home. Most did not come back until the next morning.
Martha Borete Angela’s gaze sinks to the ground as she admits neither of her two children was delivered by a midwife or doctor. The 28-year-old South Sudanese woman shared this fact in front of her classmates: first-year students in a programme for midwives at the Catholic Health Training Institute in Wau, a city in the western part of the country.
Radio Mega FM’s transmission tower rises from the centre of Gulu town, transmitting talk shows and the latest Ugandan radio hits to listeners across the district. But it also serves as something of an informal memorial to community radio-driven peace efforts during the Lord’s Resistance Army’s destruction of northern Uganda.
From a distance, Bugala Island in Lake Victoria is a patchwork of green and brown. The pattern is a result of dense forest retreating in the wake of recently planted palm tree plantations.
Life in Bwaise – a slum on the outskirts of the capital of Uganda – has never been easy. But increasingly erratic rains over the last three years have brought constant floods to the former swampland. Residents who can afford to are moving out, leaving the poorest – often single mothers and grandmothers – behind.