History of South Sudan

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The region has been negatively affected by two civil wars since Sudanese independence – the Sudanese government fought the Anyanya rebel army from 1955 to 1972 in the First Sudanese Civil War and then the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) in the Second Sudanese Civil War for almost twenty-one years after the founding of SPLA/M in 1983 – resulting in serious neglect, lack of infrastructural development, and major destruction and displacement. More than 2.5 million people have been killed, and more than 5 million have become externally displaced while others have been internally displaced, becoming refugees as a result of the civil war and war-related impacts.

A referendum was held from 9 to 15 January 2011 to determine if South Sudan should declare its independence from Sudan, with 98.83% of the population voting for independence. (The results for that referendum were released on 30 January 2011.) Those living in the north and expatriates living overseas also voted. This led to a formal independence on 9 July, although certain disputes still remain such as sharing of the oil revenues as an estimated 80% of the oil in the nation is secured from South Sudan, which would represent amazing economic potential for one of the world's most deprived areas. The region of Abyei still remains disputed and a separate referendum will be held in Abyei on whether they want to join North or South Sudan. The South Kordofan conflict broke out in June 2011 between the Army of Sudan and SPLA over the Nuba Mountains.

South Sudan is at war with at least seven armed groups with tens of thousands displaced. In the SPLA's attempt to disarm rebellions, they have burned scores of villages, raped hundreds of women and girls and killed an untold number of civilians.

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