A rebel among rebels

Taylor W. Anderson

March 23, 2011

South Sudan’s vice president doesn’t have to worry about the opposition in his country. He is the opposition.

In a country of mostly Christian Dinka residents, vice president Dr. Riek Machar is a rebel. That’s because Machar is a Nuer, a confederation of tribes in South Sudan, and blood between the two boils with a violent past.

“There are rumors that (President Omar al-) Bashir feeds the Nuer with arms and money so that they can attack the Dinka,” said Emily Sloane, a UM grad and humanitarian now working in eastern Congo.

Sloane said there are fears that instead of ignoring the results of a January referendum that will declare the south its own country in July, Bashir will continue supporting the Nuer.

Machar has time and again proven himself to be a mistrusted leader, a problem that plagues the African continent. But he has a military background, which alone makes him a power figure to the Sudanese people.

Some feel that having an intertribal government rule the south will help it establish itself when it becomes the world’s newest nation in July. But development in grossly underdeveloped country has yet to begin, and clashes between diverse tribes could hinder any progress in the near future.

“Machar is pro-South and pro-independence,” Sloane said. “Perhaps a lot of southerners are willing to forgive or ignore his less than humane actions.”


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