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14.4.2021 : 7:24 : +0200

New HSBA study analyses the Mathiang Anyoor—cattle keepers turned key SPLA fighters

When civil war broke out in South Sudan in December 2013, thousands of soldiers defected from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and joined the opposition. In response, elites loyal to Kiir’s government mobilized fighters to bolster depleted SPLA forces. One of these groups was known as the Mathiang Anyoor, originally an informal northern-border defence force that would later integrate into the SPLA where its alleged role in some of the conflict’s worst atrocities would unfold.

Insecure Power and Violence: The Rise and Fall of Paul Malong and the Mathiang Anyoor, a new Briefing Paper from the Small Arms Survey’s Human Security Baseline Assessment (HSBA) for Sudan and South Sudan project, examines the origins of the Mathiang Anyoor, tracing them back to their roots as armed cattle keepers in Northern Bahr el Ghazal. The paper reveals how they were pulled into the war largely by their political patron, Paul Malong, and that far from being a rogue ‘militia’, the Mathiang Anyoor became one of the core elements of the SPLA.

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