Small Arms Survey (2009). The 2008 South Sudan Civilian Disarmament Campaign
Download this report
In an effort to consolidate its authority, eliminate rival bases of power, and reduce inter-tribal violence, the president of the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) authorized the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and state authorities to conduct a six-month civilian disarmament campaign across South Sudan from June through the end of November 2008. The campaign followed previous local ad hoc civilian disarmament initiatives in Lakes and Jonglei States in 2006 and elsewhere before that. This Working Paper reviews the implementation of the 2008 civilian disarmament campaign, with a special focus on three states: Lakes, Western Equatoria, and Unity. Each of these states presents a different set of security concerns and dynamics. The Working Paper finds that disarmament was generally poorly planned and sporadically implemented in the three states reviewed, and had a minimal impact on security. The number of weapons collected is probably a small fraction of the total holdings in each of the affected communities. Most crucially, the decision-making process that led to the campaign, as well as its implementation, highlights concerns about GoSS governance and the ongoing need for reform within the SPLA.