Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Competing narratives in Malaysia Airlines disaster coverage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

  • Israel hits targets in Gaza despite diplomatic efforts for ceasefire

    Read more

  • Flight MH17 shot down ‘by mistake', US intelligence indicates

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Conflicting rulings by two US courts cast shadow on future of Obamacare

    Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv over Israel-Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • PSG punished by UEFA for abuse of disabled Chelsea fans

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Children killed in minibus crash in eastern France

    Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

Africa

South Sudan marks first anniversary of independence

Video by Shona BHATTACHARYYA

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-07-09

South Sudanese took to the streets of their capital Juba on Monday to celebrate the first anniversary of the country’s independence. The impoverished country has spent the past year wracked by border fighting with neighbouring Sudan.

AFP - Dancing and singing, South Sudanese on Monday put aside dire warnings over the stability and economic viability of their fledgling nation, the world's newest, to celebrate its first year of independence.

Celebrations began at midnight as crowds took to the streets of the capital Juba, with people crammed into cars driving around the city and honking horns to mark the first anniversary since separating from former civil war foes Sudan.

"It is a good day because it is the first birthday of my country," said Rachel Adau, a nurse, who arrived soon after dawn to secure a place at the official ceremony, held at the mausoleum of the late rebel leader John Garang.

"Today is the day we celebrate when the people came out from the Arabs and liberated themselves," said Michael Kenyi Benjamin, a student, as a dancing man dressed as a white dove of peace raised cheers from the flag-waving crowd.

Grossly impoverished South Sudan has spent the past year wracked by border wars with the rump state of Sudan, as well as internal violence and the shutdown of its vital oil production in a bitter dispute with Khartoum.

Vice President Riek Machar has admitted to failing to meet his people's expectations because of "the unforeseen difficulties we got ourselves into."

The early euphoria of independence on July 9, 2011, has since given way to a harsh reality.

While massive steps forward have been made, South Sudan remains one of the world's poorest countries, where even the most basic infrastructure, such as roads, electricity and water distribution networks, is lacking.

"For our people, we tell them to be patient....and to work hard to build the nation," James Hoth, chief of staff of the South's army, said as large crowds gathered. "Everyone must work for the development of this country."

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon and African Union commission chairman Jean Ping are expected to attend a military parade and official speeches, expected to begin later than scheduled.

No senior Sudanese officials are expected to attend, according to an official programme, in a sharp contrast to last year, when Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was greeted warmly as he witnessed the end of a unified Sudan.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir said Sunday that Bashir had turned down his invitation to attend.

Tension remains high with Khartoum after heavy border fighting in March and April along oil-rich disputed frontier regions, and officials held out collection boxes at the ceremony to raise funds for frontline troops.

"We have lost many of our comrades and today we are thinking of them," added Hoth, recalling both those who died in the decades of civil war with Khartoum, as well as clashes earlier this year.

Other guests include former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who is mediating slow-moving AU-led talks between Sudan and South Sudan, as well as the leaders of Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

The United States on Sunday sent its anniversary congratulations, while admitting that "significant challenges" lie ahead.

"Conflict and unresolved issues with Sudan and domestic inter-ethnic tensions have led to increased fighting and economic hardship, which threatens to compromise the very foundation on which South Sudan's future will be built," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu appealed for peace in the troubled fledgling nation.

"We want to... see a South Sudan that grows its own food and is eradicating poverty and ignorance," the 80-year-old retired South African archbishop told leaders in Juba ahead of Monday's celebrations.

Date created : 2012-07-09

  • SUDAN - SOUTH SUDAN

    UN confirms Sudan troop withdrawal from Abyei

    Read more

  • SUDAN - SOUTH SUDAN

    Sudan, South Sudan meet for AU-led peace talks

    Read more

  • SUDAN-SOUTH SUDAN

    Sudan ‘bombing’ South in defiance of UN resolution

    Read more

COMMENT(S)