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Introduction

Panoramic view from the top of Mount Kinyeti
Panoramic view from the top of Mount Kinyeti
Flag of South Sudan.svg

South Sudan (/sˈdæn, -ˈdɑːn/ (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". Nilotic peoples form the majority of its population. The territories of modern South Sudan and the Republic of the Sudan were occupied by Egypt under the Muhammad Ali dynasty and later governed as an Anglo-Egyptian condominium until Sudanese independence was achieved 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 and ended with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005. 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 a referendum that passed with 98.83% of the vote.

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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

John Garang de Mabior (June 23, 1945 – July 30, 2005) was a Sudanese politician and leader. From 1983 to 2005, he led the Sudan People's Liberation Army during the Second Sudanese Civil War, and following a peace agreement he briefly served as First Vice President of Sudan from July 2005 until he died in a July 2005 helicopter crash.

A member of the Dinka ethnic group, Garang was born into a poor family in Wangulei village in the upper Nile region of Sudan. An orphan by the age of ten, he had his fees for school paid by a relative, going to schools in Wau and then Rumbek. In 1962 he joined the first Sudanese civil war, but because he was so young, the leaders encouraged him and others his age to seek an education. Because of the ongoing fighting, Garang was forced to attend his secondary education in Tanzania. After winning a scholarship, he went on to earn a B.A. in economics in 1969 from Grinnell College in Iowa, USA. He was known there for his bookishness. He was offered another scholarship to pursue graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, but chose to return to Tanzania and study East African agricultural economics as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM). At UDSM, he was a member of the University Students' African Revolutionary Front. However, Garang soon decided to return to Sudan and join the rebels.

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