Editor's Note: At the end of last year, long simmering tensions between ethnic groups in South Sudan's normally peaceful Western Bahr El Ghazal state ignited following the government's decision to move the state's administrative capital from Wau to Bagari, home of the Balanda ethnic group. In December, cycles of retaliatory violence led to deaths in both communities and forced more than 5,000 women and children to seek refuge inside the United Nations' peacekeepers compound.
Dramatically, at least nine protesters were allegedly shot by South Sudanese soldiers during a demonstration in Wau on December 9. In response, 300 armed Dinka youth allegedly attacked Wau town, shooting at police and burning buildings. On Christmas Eve, South Sudan President Salva Kiir visited the town to address the situation. Since then, the South Sudanese government has cracked down on dissent within the state. The Committee to Protect Journalists reported on January 7 that authorities detained five journalists who were suspected of covering the recent violence in Wau. All the journalists have since been released.
Sarah Cleto Rial, who is a Wau native and program director of My Sister's Keeper, commented on the recent violence in Western Bahr El Ghazal and the diaspora community's response in this guest blog ...[view whole blog post ]