New York Times | In 2 Sudans, Familiarity With Path to War
MAYOM WEL, South Sudan — On a recent blistering afternoon, this village danced in an open field. Women sashayed, hoisting chairs over their heads. Barefoot children scampered. Old men, with skin as dry and cracked as the bark of a savanna tree, jabbed rifles toward the burning sky.
“Contribute food, contribute money,” he urged the crowd.
South Sudan’s years of conflict were meant to be over when it won its independence from Sudan last July after generations of fighting with the people of the north. But the jubilation quickly faded, and now, not even a year later, after weeks of pointed barbs and border skirmishes, this vast and vastly underdeveloped country is once again mobilizing for war — and asking some of the poorest people on earth to pay for it, with whatever they have at hand.
The villagers stepped forward, one after another, volunteering packs of tobacco, sacks of flour, goats, peanuts and $2 in wrinkled bills — not small change here. At the same time, scores of young men from around the area enlisted to be infantrymen, eager to rush to the front.
Sudan and South Sudan have yet to resolve a number of prickly and vital issues, not least of which is how to demarcate a border of more than 1,000 miles and share billions of dollars of oil revenue. Border clashes escalated in late March, killing hundreds, and strategic oil fields have switched hands.