The month-old civil conflict in South Sudan has claimed some 10,000 lives, with major towns razed to the ground and half a million people displaced. Amid the fighting, negotiators have been holding peace talks in neighboring Ethiopia…
…Alex de Waal at [The Fletcher School,] Tufts University says that little has been done to build structure and coherence in South Sudan's military since 2005 when war ended with the North, exacerbating the difficulty of hammering out a peace deal to end the current crisis.
“Most of the army is the retinue of generals. It has no real command and control,” Mr. de Waal says. “Most of it is entirely chaotic.”
The West has backed security reform in South Sudan, including three attempts to create a national payroll for soldiers. But this plan has not gained traction and plans to shrink the Army – which takes up half the country’s budget, mostly in salaries – have floundered.
De Waal says a peace deal or ceasefire may not be seen as advantageous within the Army: “Is any of it going to be implemented while you have 200,000 men under arms who are demanding their piece of the patrimony at gunpoint?”
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