[Diplomacy] Durfur Conflict & South Sudan Independence: Timeline, Players, Similarities and differences

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Unacademy Plus Mrunal Economy for Prelims and Mains UPSC!

Donot confuse or mixup between Durfur and South Sudan. These are two separate conflicts with separate climaxes.

  1. What is Sudan?
  2. Background: Durfur and South Sudan
  3. Reasons for Conflict
  4. Players in Durfur conflict
  5. Players in South Sudan Independence Struggle
  6. Arrest Warrent against Omar Al Bashir
  7. Climax
  8. North Vs South Sudan
  9. India’s response

What is Sudan?

  • Area wise the largest nation of Africa.
  • But in 2011, South Sudan became an independent nation, so now the largest country of Africa= Algeria.

Background: Durfur and South Sudan


Carefully Observe the location of Durfur, South Sudan and neighbor African nations

  • Sudan achieved independence from the British in 1956.
  • But since the beginning, Sudan has been ruled from Khartoum by a small group of predominantly Arab elites hailing principally from the Nile River valley in central Sudan.
  • Rather than working to develop Sudan’s economy, empower people in the peripheries of the country, and pull its citizens out of poverty, these elites have hoarded wealth and power for themselves
  • Southern Sudan and Darfur each belong to this historically marginalized periphery. Successive governments in Khartoum have either ignored these regions or sought to suppress them militarily.
  • As a result, southern Sudan and Darfur are two of the poorest, most war-torn, and most underdeveloped places on Earth.
  • In both situations, rebel groups arose to fight for greater political control and increased access to the resources controlled by ruling elites in Khartoum.
  • And in both situations the government in Khartoum responded by arming and training ethnically-based militias and granting them impunity to murder, rape, forcibly displace, and loot property from civilians the government accuses of supporting the rebellion.

Reasons for Conflict

Durfur conflict South Sudan independence movement
Location Western Sudan Common sense.
What is the problem?
  • the root of the problem is tension over land and grazing rights between the mostly nomadic Arabs vs the tribal Africans from the Fur, Massaleet and Zaghawa communities.
  • Root of the problem Is, South Sudan feels the Government in North Sudan is just taking away money from all natural (oil n gas) resources from South yet not doing any Development in the region.
Started in
  • Violence started in 2003 and continuing.
  • There has been bitterness since the 1962, at times ceasefires and peace agreements.
  • 2005 rebels and Government signed peace deal.
  • Finally in 2011, South Sudan gained independence.
Rebels fighting against Omar Al Bashir?
  • Sudan Liberation Army (SLA).
  • Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)
  • Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)
  • Dinka tribes.

A typical Janjaweed goon usually rides horse and wants to kill some innocent Dufur Refugees

Players in Durfur conflict
Government Rebels
  • Government  headed by President Omar Al Bashir.
  • Junjaweed Militias” – these are the Arab goons tolerated, supported, funded and armed by the North Sudanese Government (Omar al Bashir)
  • These Arab gunmen petrol on horses, with AK-47 and murder, rape and loot any innocent tribal African villagers in the Durfur region.
  • In return, the Tribal Rebels also kill the innocent Sunni Muslims villagers.
These are the Tribal Africans, following either Christianity or Animism.

  1. Sudan Liberation Army (SLA). Earlier Minni Minnawi was the main guy here but just like the Mafia Movies of Bollywood, the SLA is now broken into various factions.
  2. Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)
Players in South Sudan Independence Struggle
Northern Government Southern Rebels
  • headed by President Omar Al Bashir.
  • Murahaleen Arab Militia.
  • They also murder, rape and loot any innocent tribal Africans in the South Sudan region.
  • They’re worse than the Junjaweed for Murahaleen goons kidnap Southern Tribals and sell them in North as “Slaves” for domestic labor or fieldwork in the north.
  1. Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), earlier headed by John Garang but he was killed in plane crash so Salva Kiir Mayardiit became the main boss. Now he is the President of South Sudan.
  2. Dinka Tribes

Arrest Warrent against Omar Al Bashir

Omar Al Bashir is the main villian in both conflicts

  • following rebel attacks, (North) Sudanese Government  mobilized the “self-defence militias” (including the Janjaweed)
  • Whole villages have been sacked and razed to the ground by armed groups called Janjaweed. Women are raped. Men are lined up and shot. Survivors are warned never to return to their sacked villages. All these things do with impunity without any attempt by the government to stop or punish them. Eye witness accounts say the janjaweed are actually armed and equipped by government. The government denies this.
  • International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued an arrest warrant against Omar Al Bashir in 2008. (but he is not  yet arrested, why? we already discussed about that in earlier article. CLICK ME)


Durfur South Sudan
  • Fighting is still going on. The innocent villagers are hiding in the UN Refugee camps
  • but they cannot venture out in jungles to collect firewood or start farming or go back to their respective villages, because the Junjaweed militia petrol those territories.
  • In 2005, the North Government and South rebels signed a peace agreement, under which they were to hold a referendum in within 6 years to determine the fate of Southern parts.
  • The referendum was held in January 2011, and the Southern people voted in favor of creating a new nation.
  • Thus South Sudan was created in July 2011 and it was admitted as 193rd Member of UN.

North Vs South Sudan

Difference North Sudan South Sudan
Climate Desert Jungle and swamps
Population Arabic speaking muslims Africans, following either Christianity or tribal religions.
President Omar Al Bashir
Salva Kiir Mayardit
Capital city Khartoom Juba
Economy Poor Poorer

India’s response

Predictable. Although we recognized South Sudan as a sovereign nation, on the very same day when it was formed, but India never openly condemns any villains in UN assembly or in press conference- be it Omar Al Bashir or Bashar Al Assad, because if we do, it gives prompt chance to Pakistan to raise “human rights violation” in Kashmir. So our Official line is

“These are internal matters of respective countries and we urge both sides to resolve the matters peacefully through dialogues”

All of the articles on [Diplomacy] are archived at mrunal.org/diplomacy


  1. BBC
  2. http://www.valentinoachakdeng.org/q_and_a.php
Indian History Freedom Struggle Pratik Nayak

18 Comments on “[Diplomacy] Durfur Conflict & South Sudan Independence: Timeline, Players, Similarities and differences”

  1. great article nd cumin at a crucial tym too. plus last official line is funny. thanx

  2. hi mrunal , could you also share some time management tips for mains gs paper. would be a great help. thanks

  3. Regarding South Sudan and India relations; India was the first
    country from Asia to open its Consulate in Juba the capital of South Sudan, in 2007. India was among the first countries to extend formal recognition to South Sudan after its independence. Our VP led a high level delegation to attend the Independence Day celebrations in Juba.
    Govt of India has decided to upgrade the status of CGI Juba to Embassy level. GoI
    also welcomed the establishment of the South Sudan Embassy in New Delhi.Our PM assured South Sudan President during meet at New York that India would extend all possible assistance, particularly in the capacity building and human resource development in the areas of health, agriculture, irrigation, education, infrastructure and energy. India is a major destination for medical treatment by South Sudanese and a large number of South Sudan nationals travel to India.
    A good number of Indian companies have evinced interest in doing business in South Sudan too.

  4. plz write about coal scam competitive bidding mines mineral act coal nationalisation actetc

  5. Sir, will it b sufficient if i study ramesh singh thoroughly for eco with regular newspaper reading? basically i want to know whether the book is sufficient and are there some chapters in the book which are vvvip? i am asking this because i bought the book after your recommendation and found it to be excellent.

    1. ramesh singh + current affairs and editorials from newspapers + competitionmaster.com

  6. i am preparing economy from your articles +newspapers+cronical.should i buy rameshsingh book?

  7. Hi Mrunal,

    Can you share the printable format of the diplomacy articles. Will really appreciate the same.

  8. sir
    Did educational services comes under the consumer protection act

  9. Hello, I would like to use the picture of the map at the start of the article for my school paper. Where did you get it originally? I need to reference everything properly :)

    Thank you

  10. thanks sir…
    u have cleared my all doubts.. sir could you please suggest me from where could i reads public admin topics ( my pub ad is very weak)

  11. Sir, some of the images are not appearing on this main page and we have to open them in new tab to view.. its happening in a number of pages..

  12. sir, 1 more thing your maps are awesome , please share the link from where you are using them.

    1. I think it is from Economist magazine , you can google more maps.even using this image.

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