On January 9th, 2011, the people of South Sudan voted to secede from the North and form a new nation. This vote was promised in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005, which ended a brutal 22-year civil war between the Sudanese government and groups in South Sudan. The January referendum displayed a landslide vote for secession, with nearly 100% of voters in the South voting in favor of separation.
Six months later on July 9, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan officially became independent. Despite a peaceful separation between the North and South, there remain several unresolved and contentious issues, including the Abyei region, border delineation, popular consultations for two regions remaining in the North and oil wealth sharing.
From 1983-2005, the North and South fought a brutal civil war which led to the deaths of an estimated two million Southerners and displaced an additional four million civilians. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s forces not only directly attacked the South but also manipulated tribal tensions to create internal conflict that still persists today. While the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) signed a peace agreement in 2005, Bashir has continued to support instability in the South.