Images Of South Sudan And Sudan's Conflict

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  • Kiir and Obama
    South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit meets with U.S. President Obama September 21, 2011 as both attended the U.N. General Assembly in New York. While South Sudanese relations with the U.S. are close, tellingly, Kiir chose to travel to Beijing during the recent crisis between his government and Khartoum. Reuters
  • Wounded Veterans
    South Sudan's long history of conflict with Sudan before formal secession had already taken a terrible toll on both countries. Wounded veterans of South Sudan's Sudanese People's Liberation Army marched in referendum celebrations in July 2011. Reuters
  • Friendships
    Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki is flanked by Kiir on the right and Ethiopian prime minister Melles Zenawi on the left. East African nations are eager to boost economic relations with the oil rich South, including development of new port and oil transport infrastructure. South Sudan may soon join the region's free trade zone. Reuters
  • Sudanese Soldiers
    Sudanese soldiers cheer as they listen to a speech from their president, Omar Al-Bashir on April 23. Bashir has promised to 'liberate' the peoples of the South and has so far refused to negotiate with Juba. Reuters
  • Air Strikes
    A South Sudanese soldier ducks for cover as Sudanese warplanes carry out bombing strikes near Bentiu, the capital of South Sudan's Unity state, on April 23. Reuters
  • Airstrike Aftermath
    Airstrikes on the southern oil town of Bentiu on April 23 killed three people according to claims by local residents and said. The South had withdrawn from Heglig oil fields three days prior. Smoke from the bombing rises in the background. Reuters
  • Heglig Hobbled
    Oil tanks damaged and leaking in Heglig on April 23. Sudanese engineers returned to the site on Monday to survey the damage from South Sudan's capture of the fields and Sudan's subsequent retaking of the area. An international joint venture company, owned 40% by China, operates Heglig's oil fields. Reuters
  • Heglig Hobbled
    Oil pumps damaged and leaking in Heglig on April 23. Sudanese engineers returned to the site on Monday to survey the damage from South Sudan's capture of the fields and Sudan's subsequent retaking of the area. An international joint venture company, owned 40% by China, operates Heglig's oil fields. Reuters
  • Heglig Hobbled
    Oil pumps damaged and leaking in Heglig on April 23. Sudanese engineers returned to the site on Monday to survey the damage from South Sudan's capture of the fields and Sudan's subsequent retaking of the area. An international joint venture company, owned 40% by China, operates Heglig's oil fields. Reuters
  • Sudanese Technical Column
    Sudanese soldiers travel to Heglig after recapturing the fields from retreating South Sudanese forces. Soldiers sit atop armed trucks converted from civilian vehicles, referred to as 'technicals', which are common amongst less developed military forces in East Africa. Reuters
  • SPLA Soldier
    A soldier from South Sudan hoists his machine gun as he travels in Halop in Unity State, April 24. The South Sudanese flag on his shoulder carries six colors. Black represents the people, white-peace, red carries the meaning of past blood shed for liberty, green is for the land the people live on, and blue in place of the nile river; the gold start is the star of Bethlehem. Varied reports claim either the majority or only a single portion of South Sudan's population as Christian, the other segments being traditional local religions or Islamic. Sudan on the other hand, is more than 90% Muslim since the split of the country in 2011. Reuters
  • SPLA Tank
    A South Sudanese T-72. The T-72 is a Cold War-era Soviet/Russian tank still widely popular around the world and used by many military forces. AllAfrica reported that in 2008, 33 T-72 originally thought to be for Kenya made their way to the SPLA. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 87% of all major weapons (excluding small arms) sold to Sudan between 2003-2007 came from Russia, 8% from China. Other research institutes often claim that the Chinese arms trade with Sudan may be understated, and believe that China may be an important military as well as economic backer for both Sudans. Reuters
  • SPLA Soldiers
    Soldiers of South Sudan's SPLA near the frontline in Panakuach, Unity state, April 24. Reuters
  • Hand Of War
    The hand of a dead SPLA soldier lies on the ground. Sudan recaptured the Heglig region on April 23, and their president al-Bashir made a visit to the area in person to praise their efforts. Reuters
  • Tankmen
    Sudanese soldiers stand atop a tank as they cheer on al-Bashir. Sudan recaptured the Heglig region on April 23, and their president al-Bashir made a visit to the area in person to praise their efforts. Reuters
  • Support for al-Bashir
    Although Sudan is suffering from political problems that could threaten to further destabilize and fracture the country, it would have been difficult for president Omar Hassan al-Bashir to notice in April 20. Sudanese residents of Khartoum cheered in the street last Friday as news came that South Sudan said it would withdraw its troops from the Heglig oil fields. Reuters
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Regional governments and international groups are trying to prevent Sudan and South Sudan's recent border clashes from escalating into full-scale war.

However, powerful drivers may be pushing the two countries into a confrontation. Among those factors are disagreement over the division of natural resources, ethnic tensions, and a tradition of mistrust between the two. South Sudan broke off last year from Sudan, after decades of unrest and civil war.

So far, the conflict has been constrained to limited, but nevertheless deadly, small-scale military actions from both countries. Airstrikes by Sudan have hit various points in the South. South Sudan moved last week to seize the Heglig oil fields, located just across the border, but withdrew forces from the area soon afterward. Heglig serves as a major oil pipeline hub in Sudan, although in previous months oil production there has diminished to a sliver of the original capacity.

Egypt has helped to broker a prisoner of war return from South Sudan back to Khartoum, but both governments are slinging fresh new accusations at one another.

Uganda has voiced its support for South Sudan. Other states in East Africa will meet on Saturday to discuss further integrating South Sudan into the regional community. The Kenyan, Ugandan, Tanzanian, Rwandan and Burundian presidents will meet to consider extending their free trade zone, the East Africa Community, to South Sudan.

The United Nations is already taking steps to preempt the situation from further degrading.  It will open a new refugee camp in northern Kenya in case large numbers of people flee across the border from Sudan and South Sudan. Meanwhile, a Chinese envoy is visiting both Juba and Khartoum to pressure both governments to make peace overtures.

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