Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

Cattle-Camp Politics

Letter from Leer

The ongoing conflict in South Sudan is often seen as a power struggle between the “big men,” as the South Sudanese call their political and military leaders, namely President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar. But intertwined in the politics at the top are the local “cattle-camp politics,” the intertribal tensions that existed long before the start of the civil war. On the surface, the fighting in South Sudan began at the end of 2013 when Kiir’s camp accused his then vice president, Machar, of plotting a coup. The truth behind this allegation is unclear, although Machar never hid his …

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