|To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that SSPS stands for South Sudan.
South Sudan's defense overview
The total force figures for South Sudan's armed forces
are about 185,000 active personnel, all in the Army (2018,
IISS). The UN has had peacekeeping forces in the country
since 2005 (see UNMIS and UNMISS), where Norway has
contributed personnel and observers (14 personnel per 2018).
The Army supplies include about 80 T-72 tanks (in
addition, a smaller T-55 type). In addition, the Army has
armored personnel vehicles, self-propelled artillery,
medium-heavy artillery, short-range anti-aircraft missiles
and anti-aircraft artillery. An air component has one light
transport aircraft, two training aircraft and light attack
aircraft of the L-39 Albatros type, and 17 helicopters, of
which five Mi-24 combat helicopters.
Civil War in South Sudan
A civil war in the new state of South Sudan broke out on
December 15, 2013 following a conflict between President
Salva Kiir Mayardit and former Vice President Riek Machar
since July of that year.
Background to the conflict
South Sudan became an independent state following the
release from Sudan in 2011. The split of Sudan was the
result of a peace treaty from 2005 following two civil wars
between the north and south, from 1955 to 1972 and from 1983
to 2005. The peace agreement meant a referendum where the
people of the south could vote for the establishment of a
separate state in 2011. In the election, 99 percent voted
for secession, and the state of South Sudan was created the
It turned out that resistance to the north was a unifying
factor for the population of different ethnic backgrounds in
the south. The country lacked both reliable political
institutions and important state institutions such as health
care and education. In addition to a weak state apparatus,
South Sudan had no strong common national identity - neither
before nor after the establishment of the state.
The political conflict
The liberation movement SPLM/SPLA (Sudanese People's
Liberation Movement/Army) had state power in South Sudan
after the detachment. Former rebel leader Salva Kiir
Mayardit became South Sudan's first president and Vice
President Riek Machar became vice president.
In July 2013, President Salva Kiir deposed Vice President
Riek Machar. Later that year, the SPLM party conference
ended with gunfire in a military camp outside the capital
Juba on December 15, 2013, and Salva Kiir accused Riek
Machar of attempted coup. The conflicts between the two have
a historical backdrop, dating back to 1991, when Machar
created his own rebel group alongside the SPLA.
In a short space of time, the SPLM was split - mainly
along ethnic lines. Salva Kiir is Dinka, and he continued to
receive support from his own people, while Riek Machar's
Nuer and his people supported the creation of the SPLM in
opposition. In addition, Uganda has supported Salva Kiir,
while Sudan is accused of supporting Riek Machar.
Failed peace agreements
During 2014, there were five attempts to secure a peace
agreement between the two warring parties, but neither
On August 26, 2015, a new and more comprehensive peace
agreement was signed by Salva Kiir and Riek Machar following
strong pressure from the US Secretary of State and the head
of the UN Security Council. Under the agreement, Riek Machar
was to be re-elected as Vice President.
On July 7, 2016, armed conflict broke out again between
the two parties. Hundreds of people have been killed and
many thousands have fled. Throughout the fall of 2016, the
UN warned several times that there was a danger of genocide
in the country.
In February 2017, famine was declared in several of the
country's states as a result of the civil war and economic
The Civil War in numbers
During the civil war, more than 50,000 people have been
killed and more than 2.5 million have fled - either to
neighboring countries or interned in UN camps. It is
estimated that 12,000 children have been recruited as
soldiers, while NOK 280 million has been spent on weapons
purchases. At the same time, more than six million people
are in need of relief, and the country is on the brink of an
extensive famine disaster as people are not allowed to
cultivate their land because of the war actions.