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Introduction

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South Sudan (/sˈdɑːn, -ˈdæn/ (About this soundlisten)), officially known as the Republic of South Sudan, is a landlocked country in East-Central Africa. The country gained its independence from the Republic of the Sudan in 2011, making it the newest country with widespread recognition. Its capital and largest city is Juba.

South Sudan is bordered by Sudan to the north, Ethiopia to the east, Kenya to the southeast, Uganda to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the southwest and the Central African Republic to the west. It includes the vast swamp region of the Sudd, formed by the White Nile and known locally as the Bahr al Jabal, meaning "Mountain Sea". Sudan was occupied by Egypt under the Muhammad Ali dynasty and was governed as an Anglo-Egyptian condominium until Sudanese independence in 1956. Following the First Sudanese Civil War, the Southern Sudan Autonomous Region was formed in 1972 and lasted until 1983. A second Sudanese civil war soon broke out, ending in 2005 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Later that year, southern autonomy was restored when an Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan was formed. South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July 2011, following 98.83% support for independence in a January 2011 referendum.

Selected panorama

Mount Kinyeti
Credit: AIMikhin

Panoramic from the top of Mount Kinyeti

Selected article

Map of Abyei Area

The Abyei Area (Arabic: أبيي‎) is an area of 10,546 square kilometres (2,606,000 acres) (4,072 sq mi) in Sudan accorded "special administrative status" by the 2004 Protocol on the Resolution of the Abyei Conflict (Abyei Protocol) in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the Second Sudanese Civil War. The capital of Abyei Area is Abyei Town. The area is claimed by South Sudan but currently controlled by the northern Sudanese government.

Considered a historical bridge between northern and southern Sudan, the Abyei Area had previously been considered part of the larger Abyei District within the now-abolished state of West Kurdufan. Under the terms of the Abyei Protocol, the Abyei Area was declared, on an interim basis, to be simultaneously part of the states of South Kurdufan and Northern Bahr el Ghazal.

In contrast to the borders of the former district, the Abyei Protocol defined the Abyei Area as "the area of the nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms transferred to Kordofan in 1905". In 2005, a multinational border commission established this to be those portions of Kordofan south of 10°22′30″ N. However, following continued disputes that erupted into violence and threatened the CPA, an international arbitration process redrew Abyei's boundaries in 2009 to make it significantly smaller, extending no further north than 10°10′00" N. This revised border has now been endorsed by all parties to the dispute.

Selected biography

John Garang waving to the people

Guor Marial (born 15 April 1984) is a South Sudanese track and field athlete. He is a Dinka tribesman.

Marial competed in the men's marathon at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Because South Sudan did not yet have a recognized national Olympic committee (NOC), Marial competed under the Olympic Flag at the 2012 Olympics, rather than the South Sudanese flag. He is one of four athletes competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics under the Olympic flag rather than that of an individual country.

The National Olympic Committee of Sudan offered to allow Marial to compete as a member of the Sudanese team. Marial rejected this offer, saying, "It's not right for me to do that. It's not right for me to represent the country I refuged from." He went on to say, "If I ran for Sudan, I would be betraying my people. I would be dishonoring the two million people who died for our freedom."

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