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South Sudan Fast Facts


Here’s a look at South Sudan, a landlocked country in east-central Africa. In 2011, South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan.

About South Sudan

(from the CIA World Factbook)
Area: 644,329 sq km, slightly smaller than Texas

Population: 10,984,074 (July 2021 est.)

Median age: 18.6 years

Capital: Juba

Ethnic Groups: Dinka (Jieng) 35.8%, Nuer (Naath) 15.6%, Shilluk (Chollo), Azande, Bari, Kakwa, Kuku, Murle, Mandari, Didinga, Ndogo, Bviri, Lndi, Anuak, Bongo, Lango, Dungotona, Acholi, Baka, Fertit (2011 est.)

Religion: Animist, Christian, Muslim

Other Facts

The country is poverty-stricken despite containing vast oil reserves.

A demilitarized, jointly monitored Common Border Zone was established between Sudan and South Sudan to ease tensions in the oil-rich Abyei region.


January 1, 1956 – Sudan gains its independence after an agreement between the United Kingdom and Egypt.

March 27, 1972 – The signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement ends 17 years of civil war between the northern Khartoum forces and southern Anya-Nya rebels. Part of the agreement includes the creation of the autonomous region of South Sudan, with Juba as its capital.

1977 – Oil discovered in southwestern Sudan. Civil war during the 1980s and 1990s prevents exploration or development of the oil deposits.

1980s – Prolonged droughts put pressure on water and farming resources.

May 1983 – John Garang forms the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). Garang helps organize a rebellion against the government’s proposal to re-divide the region and impose Islamic law.

1989 – The United Nations airlifts famine relief to both sides during a civil war.

March 27, 1995 – Sudan’s government calls for a two-month ceasefire at the behest of former US President Jimmy Carter.

July 15, 1998-May 1999 – The SPLA calls a ceasefire due to regional famine, allowing UN supplies to reach famine victims.

January 9, 2005 – The Comprehensive Peace Agreement is signed by representatives from the north and the south. The agreement includes independence for southern Sudan within six years. Islamic law will not apply in South Sudan, according to the agreement.

April 11-15, 2010 – Sudan holds multiparty elections for the first time in 24 years. Kiir is elected president of South Sudan with 93% of the vote.

January 9-15, 2011 – Voters participate in a referendum, casting ballots that will determine whether South Sudan secedes or remains part of a unified Sudan.

February 7, 2011 – The Southern Sudan Referendum Commission announces that 98.83% have voted for separation. US President Barack Obama declares Washington’s intention to recognize South Sudan as an independent state in July, when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is scheduled to end.

March 2011 – Violence breaks out between soldiers and rebel groups.

April 27, 2011 – During a speech on state television, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir claims the disputed oil-rich region of Abyei is part of the north.

May 31, 2011 – The African Union announces that Sudan and South Sudan have reached an agreement on Abyei, in which a demilitarized, jointly monitored Common Border Zone is established.

June 5, 2011 – Fighting breaks out along the border.

June 20, 2011 – Representatives from Sudan and South Sudan sign an agreement calling for the withdrawal of Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) from Abyei and for joint supervision of the disputed region.

July 9, 2011 – South Sudan becomes an independent nation.

July 14, 2011 – Becomes the 193rd member nation of the UN.

July 29, 2011 – South Sudan is admitted to the African Union.

October 9, 2011 – In his first visit to Khartoum since South Sudan’s independence, Kiir meets with Bashir to “reach final solutions” to address continuing differences between their countries.

January 23, 2012 – South Sudan shuts down oil production after accusing Sudan of stealing $815 million of its oil. Sudan claims it confiscated the crude to make up for unpaid fees to use the pipeline and processing facilities in its territory.

February 10, 2012 – During talks mediated by the African Union, Sudan and South Sudan sign a nonaggression pact aimed at bringing peace to the border region.

May 3, 2012 – Kiir sends letters to more than 75 government officials and to eight foreign governments in attempt to recover $4 billion allegedly lost to corruption.

May 30, 2012 – A spokeswoman for the UN peacekeeping mission confirms the full withdrawal of the SAF from the Abyei. Sudanese police forces remain in the area.

September 27, 2012 – Bashir and Kiir sign a deal to resume oil exports and establish a demilitarized zone. The presidents do not reach an agreement on the status of Abyei.

January 6, 2013 – Bashir and Kiir agree to temporary arrangements for the Abyei region.

March 8, 2013 – Defense ministers from Sudan and South Sudan sign an agreement to withdraw their respective military forces from the 14-mile-wide demilitarized zone between the countries.

July 23, 2013 – Kiir dismisses his entire Cabinet, including Vice President Riek Machar.

December 2013 – Soldiers from President Salva Kiir’s Dinka ethnic group clash with Nuer soldiers perceived to be loyal to Machar. Kiir is a member of the country’s majority Dinka population, while Machar is Nuer, the country’s second-largest ethnic group. Fighting spreads and In the ensuing civil war, at least 50,000 are killed, more than 2 million are displaced and many people face severe food shortages.

January 6, 2014 – Kiir and Bashir hold talks in Juba.

April 17, 2014 Militants attack a UN peacekeepers’ base in Bor, killing at least 48 people.

August 26, 2015 – Under threat of UN sanctions, Kiir signs a peace deal with Machar.

October 27, 2015 – The African Union releases a report indicating militants have committed such atrocities as forced cannibalism and gang rape.

January 28, 2016 – Bashir orders the opening of the border with South Sudan for the first time since the South seceded five years ago, the Sudan News Agency reports.

February 11, 2016 – Kiir reinstates Machar as vice president, part of a peace deal to end the two-year civil war, according to a presidential decree read on state television. Machar is sworn in on April 26, 2016.

July 7-11, 2016 – Fighting breaks out on the fifth anniversary of South Sudan’s independence. Skirmishes between soldiers loyal to Kiir, and militants backing Machar leave more than 150 people dead, according to Machar’s spokesman. After days of fighting, Kiir orders an immediate ceasefire. Machar later calls on his followers to respect the ceasefire.

July 25, 2016 – Kiir removes Machar as vice president for the second time and replaces him with Taban Deng Gai, who had previously served as Machar’s chief negotiator, as well as mining minister.

September 4, 2016 – South Sudan’s government agrees to the deployment of an additional 4,000 peacekeepers on behalf of the UN Security Council. There are already 12,000 UN peacekeepers in the country.

November 1, 2016 – The UN announces the dismissal of the commander of the peacekeeping force in South Sudan, shortly after the release of a report on deadly violence in July and the actions of the UN mission in the country.

February 20, 2017 – The UN announces famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan. An estimated 4.9 million people – more than 40% of South Sudan’s population – are in urgent need of food, agricultural and nutrition assistance.

May 9, 2017 – Militants attack Gai’s convoy, shooting and injuring three of his bodyguards.

May 31, 2017 – The UN issues a report projecting that 6.01 million people, about 50% of South Sudan’s population, will be severely food insecure in June and July. It is the greatest number of people to experience severe food insecurity in South Sudan.

March 21, 2018 – The health minister announces that South Sudan has gone 15 consecutive months without a single reported case of Guinea worm, a parasitic disease that cannot be treated with vaccines. South Sudan once had the most cases of Guinea worm in the world.

April 17, 2018 – More than 200 child soldiers are freed during a ceremony organized by UNICEF. That brings the total up to 500 child soldiers freed in 2018.

September 12, 2018 – Kiir signs a peace agreement with Machar in an effort to end the civil war.

February 20, 2020 – Kiir and Machar announce they have agreed to form a unity government. Machar is sworn in as vice president two days later.

Article Topic Follows: National/World

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