The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA)

The SPLA started in 1983 as a conspiracy of Southern commanders within the Sudanese army. They wanted to start a guerilla war against the Northern government.  The leader  of the coalition was John Garang. The main source of their frustrations against the government was the continuing under development and neglect of the Southern, Eastern, and Western areas, that were defined as periphery by the government. Moreover, the unfulfilled promises of improvement of the former peace agreement between the North and the South added more fuel to the fire.  They wanted to create a united coalition of those who opposed the Northern Elites. Although in the beginning the coalition was associated with the Dinka ethnicity –even though not all its leaders were Dinka -, this association disappeared within a year. Support for the SPLA grew quick after its foundation, partly because of  the assist they receive from the Ethiopian state. Until 1991 they had much military success. However, because of a regime change in Ethiopia –the new regime aligned with the government instead the coalition -, and an internal split their successes diminished.  In 1994 the organization regained its strength. After the peace agreement in 2005, the SPLA was reformed and became part of Sudanese political institutions. On the ground the fighting continued. The SPLA is now the official army of South-Sudan after its independence in 2011.

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