The Peace Process and Political Situation
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in Nairobi, Kenya, on 9th January 2005 ended the 21 year old civil war that pitied South Sudan against North Sudan.
The CPA allowed for the Constitution of the Sudan for the Interim Period. The Government of National Unity (GONU) and an appointed National Assembly was set up in Khartoum. In addition, the Interim Constitution for South Sudan was passed by an appointed Assembly of South Sudan.
The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) is established in Juba, Central Equatoria State, along with the Assembly of Southern Sudan. The governments of the ten southern states and their parliaments are also established in the capitals of their individual states.
To date, refugees and internally displaced populations are streaming back to non-existent homes in the south while the local and international communities are doing their best to accommodate the returnees. The first official repatriation carried out by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, out of Kenya took place in December 2005.
SPLA troops have withdrawn from the North while most of the Northern troops have also bee redeployed in the North. Equal numbers from SPLA and the Northern troops have been integrated to form a national armed force; and while most of these joint integrated units (JUI) are based in the South, some of them are based in the North, mostly in Khartoum.
Landmines have been removed from the main roads linking Juba to East Africa. However, de-mining is on going around other towns and roads.
Wildlife and Tourism
With extensive forests, grassland, lakes, rivers and the Sudd, South Sudan has had extensive wildlife to rival that of East Africa. However, the civil war scattered or diminished the wildlife population, in particular the big game that was easily accessible to tourists close to the towns.
Although the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the later years of the civil war made brave attempts at the preservation of threatened species like the elephant and the rhino, a lot more remains to be done in peace time to bring their numbers up to the original levels. Nevertheless, the latest reports of animal seasonal migration to and fro between the Sudd and the bordering high lands east and west are said to be much greater than that of the world-famouse animal migration between Kenya and Tanzania Masai Mara/Serengeti route. Tourism industry in South Sudan, however, needs to be established as soon as pockets of insecurity are effectively dealt with.
Caution: Although the war is officially over, security is still a priority and one should check onward travel at every stage. Many roads are still land-mined and there are still many guns in the hands of tribal groups or individuals.