Added by Monique Robinson on July 8, 2011
The Republic of South Sudan will become the world’s 193rd country on Friday as a result of a referendum to break away from the rest of Sudan. The capital city, Juba, is preparing to celebrate on Saturday.
Tens of thousands of southern Sudanese who have until now been living in exile overseas in surrounding countries are expected to return to celebrate their newly-found, hard-won independence with hopes to settle in their new home nation. Citizens are gathering at the Dr. John Garang Mausoleum in Juba, practicing traditional dance, practicing full dress rehearsals, and preparing for a flag-raising ceremony.
“I feel really happy new because we are finally liberated from the Arab rule. Myself, I am one of the founders. I’m one of the people who started the war. But I’m happy that the flag has been hoisted today while I’m alive. And I’m seeing our flag of freedom waving in the air”, said John Ngum Lang Ngum, a veteran southern Sudanese soldier.
While South Sudan is oil rich, it’s oil is transported via pipeline to the north where it is exported. The two nations must now work out a wealth-sharing agreement. South Sudan’s infrastructure needs to be upgraded by building roads, railways, and airports in addition to hospitals, schools and other infrastructure. Meanwhile the Sudan People’s Liberation Army is faces armed opposition from militia groups that split from the movement that fought and won liberation. Renewed fighting during recent weeks in the oil-rich region of Abyei has seen the arrival of peacekeepers from neighbouring Ethiopia to create a buffer zone. Abyei’s future, between the north and south border, has yet to be decided.
The new nation of South Sudan will be governed by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, the political arm of the rebel army that fought with the north before the peace accord of 2005 was signed. South Sudan’s first president is Salva Kiir Mayardit.
Update: Wikipedia has added a map of the Republic of South Sudan. The map includes details about the new country’s three regions and ten states.