An examination of the mobilisation and transformation of South Sudan’s many informal armies, with a focus on three case studies.
South Sudan has many ‘informal armies’ and community defence groups. Over decades they have played a significant role in security dynamics on the ground, as well as providing political leverage at subnational and national levels. Adaptable and ready to mobilise, many have transformed again through national Independence and the recent civil war. Community defence groups often have greater military capability than the ‘state’, and often substitute the state’s role for the provision of security.
This paper explains this dynamic in three discrete case studies. The utility of this paper is its provision of essential context relevant for community-based solutions to environmental peacebuilding and natural resource management. This is particularly the case where community defence groups represent de facto governance in rural areas; and/or have already become entwined in the management and extraction of natural resources.