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Sudan's Prolonged Second Civil War and The Militarization of Nuer and Dinka Ethnic Identities

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 May 2014

Abstract:

Ever since power struggles within the Sudan People's Liberation Army split the movement into two warring factions in August 1991, rural Nuer and Dinka communities of the South have been grappling with a deepening regional subculture of ethnicized violence. This article describes political factors that have prolonged this bitter conflict into the present and have contributed to the post-1991 polarization and militarization of Dinka and Nuer ethnic identities. Drawing on parallel field research conducted in Dinka and Nuer regions of South Sudan during 1998 and 1999, the authors show how ordinary civilians have been struggling to understand and cope with this new “war of the [southern] educated [elite].” Among the major themes addressed are: (1) the rapid unraveling of regional codes of warfare ethics since 1991; (2) the transformation of previous patterns of interethnic competition over scarce economic resources into politicized programs of ethnicized violence; (3) mounting public despair over the seeming unwillingness of John Garang and Riek Machar to compromise their personal ambitions for the greater unity of the South; and (4) recent peace initiatives made by Dinka and Nuer chiefs, which have succeeded in reducing interethnic violence, despite the continuing intransigence of some military leaders.

Résumé:

Résumé:

Depuis que les luttes de pouvoir dans l'Armée de Libération du Peuple du Soudan a séparé ce mouvement en deux factions guerrières en août 1991, les communautés rurales de Nuer et de Dinka dans le sud se débattent avec une sub-culture régionale grandissante de violences ethniques. Cet article décrit les facteurs politiques qui ont prolongé jusque dans le présent ce conflit acharné dans les régions du sud, et qui ont contribué à la polarisation et la militarisation des identités ethniques Dinka et Nuer après 1991. Se basant sur des recherches parallèles menées sur le terrain dans les régions de Dinka et Nuer au Sud-Soudan pendant les années 1998 et 1999, les auteurs démontrent comment des citoyens ordinaires s'efforcent de comprendre et de vivre avec cette nouvelle “guerre des [élites] instruit[e]s [du sud].” Les thèmes majeurs suivants sont abordés: (1) l'éclaircissement rapide des codes régionaux d'éthique guerrière depuis 1991; (2) la transformation d'anciens modèles de rivalité inter-ethnique pour les rares ressources économiques en programmes politisés de violences ethniques; (3) le désespoir public grandissant sur la mauvaise volonté de John Garang et Riek Machar, apparemment peu disposés à compromettre leurs ambitions personnelles en faveur d'une plus grande unité du sud; et (4) les récentes initiatives de paix lancées par les chefs Dinka et Nuer, qui ont réussi à réduire les violences inter-ediniques malgré l'intransigeance persistante de certains chefs militaires.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © African Studies Association 1999

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