Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Burundi's presidential election: our team follow incumbent Nkurunziza's campaign trail

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Vote "No" for dignity and democracy ≠OXI

Read more

THE DEBATE

Turkey's Border Bother: Ankara wary of emboldened Kurds (part 2)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Turkey's Border Bother: Ankara wary of emboldened Kurds (part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Tunisia Attack: UK ponders airstrike in Syria; Uber Popped: service suspended after French taxi revolt

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Greece's Choice: Europe holds its breath over Sunday's referendum

Read more

#TECH 24

Testing robots to play, snuggle and learn

Read more

#THE 51%

Jordan: Where a rapist can marry his victim

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

Latest update : 2010-04-26

Is South Sudan another Darfur?

Following Darfur's tragedy, concern has now turned to South Sudan. A peace agreement was signed in 2005 by the north and the south, ending over 20 years of civil war. A referendum is supposed to be held in January 2011. FRANCE 24 met with some Sudanese from the south and discovered fears of a new outburst of violence.

We'd come to Juba, Southern Sudan, to make a film about the region’s hope for independence. According to the peace agreement signed by the warring north and south in 2005, a referendum was to be held in January 2011.

Yasser Arman, the SPLM's candidate in the North, had told us that he no longer believes the referendum will happen. One woman I'd spoken to at a polling station in Khartoum had shared her doubts with us too. The north, she explained, couldn't do without the south and its oil. In the south, people seemed more optimistic and believed the referendum was going to happen.

After much phone-banging, we were finally granted an interview with the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir. While waiting to talk to Kiir, we noticed in the waiting room a large model of what the town was supposed to look like. Little buttons allowed us to light up the presidential palace, an ambitious White House look-alike, the government offices and the Central Business District. Neat, straight boulevards linked the buildings to one another; the symmetry used in the model uncommon to African cities.

We then saw Kiir, who came out himself to usher us into his office, where all the interviews are conducted in oversized white leather armchairs. Kiir's hero image is everywhere in the south. His photo is on every wall and every shop and car window in Juba. The first thing that surprised us when seeing him was his height. Even by local standards, he's enormous. He's also clearly acquired a taste for the finer things in life since those long, hard years in the bush. Beneath the hat, the beard is neatly trimmed, the suit expensive and the gold Rolex enormous.

Kiir’s views on decommissioning dominated our interview. Twenty years of civil war had put millions of guns in the hands of the people and ongoing tribal conflict was making them hard to take away. In Jonglei province alone, 2,500 people were killed in tribal conflict in 2009. Difficult to convince people, under those circumstances, to give up their only means of self-defence. And to make matters worse, new guns were entering the country all the time. We'd heard this again and again since we'd been in Sudan. Many believed it was the North's National Congress party that was arming tribes in the south in order to destabilise the would-be breakaway country. Salva Kiir confirmed one half of the story and in coded language hinted at the rest.

SPLA forces, he said, went into villages to take the guns from the people. Sometimes, when villagers refused to give them up without a fight, lives were lost. But no sooner were the Kalashnikovs off the streets than brand new ones were back on them. We asked who was responsible for providing the new weapons. “Those in whose interest it is that the south remains unstable,” he said, but would not be drawn further.

By Melissa BELL , Karim HAKIKI

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2015-07-03 Libya

Libya in search of unity

Four years after the fall of Gaddafi, Libya is deeply divided with two governments and two armies. The Islamist militia Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) controls the capital Tripoli....

Read more

2015-06-26 Kenya

Kenya's vicious circle: Terrorism and counter-terrorism

Last April, two years after the massacre at the Nairobi shopping mall, Kenya was again plunged into horror. At Garissa University in eastern Kenya, 148 students were shot dead in...

Read more

2015-06-12 Burma

The Great Rohingya 'Exodus'

In Burma, the stateless Rohingya minority, estimated at 1.3 million people, is systematically discriminated against by both the authorities and extremist Buddhist monks.

Read more

2015-06-05 Ukraine

Ukraine: A phoney war in strategic Mariupol

Mariupol is a strategic port on the Sea of Azov in eastern Ukraine. It is one of the last major eastern cities still controlled by Kiev, but it remains under constant threat from...

Read more

2015-05-29 Iraq

Video - Abu Azrael: ‘Iraq’s Rambo’

In the Iraqi army and on social networks, he’s an icon. Abu Azrael, a Rambo-like Shiite militiaman, has helped push back the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq. Our reporters went...

Read more