South Sudan

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Republic of South Sudan

The Republic of South Sudan became an independent state in July 2011, following protracted periods of civil war with the govenrment of Sudan that began in the 1950s and ended only in 2005. The First Sudanese Civil War (also known as the Anyanya Rebellion) lasted from 1955 until 1972, pitting the armed forces of the Sudanese government against a coalition of southern Sudanese fighters known variously as the Southern Sudan Liberation Movement, Azania Liberation Front, and the Anyanya Equatorial Corps. Cessation of hostilities brought about the formation of the Southern Sudan Autonomous Region, which existed from 1972 until 1983, but fighting again broke out between the north and south leading to a Second Sudanese Civil War. This latter conflict, lasting from 1983 until 2005, claimed the lives of more than two million people resulting from war, famine and the rampant spread of disease. The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) emerged as the military wing of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, working towards complete autonomy and independence from the government of (north) Sudan. The SPLA were supported militarily by Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Uganda, all of whom sent military personnel to Sudan in 1995. Peace talks that began in 2003 ultimately led to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed on 9 January 2005. The Sudanese government withdrew all of its troops from southern Sudan in 2008.

The SPLA has formed the basis of the newly constituted Armed Forces of Southern Sudan, consisting largely of ground forces supplemented by a small Air Force. As of 2012, the formation process is still ongoing. There has been little uniformity regarding the outfitting of military personnel, with uniforms coming from various sources including ex-Sudanese Army stocks, as well as contributions from supporters such as Uganda and Ethiopia.

Camouflage Patterns of South Sudan

  • A woodland-style pattern, probably of Chinese origin is commonly found in the forces of South Sudan. Its origins can be traced to the Sudan People's Liberation Army. This pattern uses a completely different set of drawings than the US woodland design.

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  • Copies of the Portuguese vertical lizard camouflage design were popular with some units of the SPLA and are undoubtedly still in the supply system of the current armed forces, although gradually being phased out.

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  • Many South Sudanese Army personnel also wear the same six-color "chocolate chip" desert pattern of the regular Sudanese Army.

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  • The Tiger Battalion, also known as the Presidential Republican Guards, has been documented wearing a contemporary tiger stripe camouflage design, similar to the one seen below.

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  • The South Sudan Police Serivce (SSPS) currently wear both a leaf camouflage design with a blue colorway, and a different pattern having larger, woodland-type shapes. The former design consists of black, dark blue and blue-grey shapes on a pale blue background; the latter, of black, medium grey and medium brown shapes on a pale blue background.

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  • In December 2009, a contingent of wildlife officers from South Sudan completed a three-month training course at the Kenya Wildlife Service Training Institute (at Naivisha) and the Law Enforcement Academy based at Tsavo West National Park. Around this time, photographs of the new South Sudan Wildlife Police emerged showing personnel wearing the same four-color desert DPM pattern issued by the Kenyan Wildlife Service officers. More recent photographs from 2012 show South Sudanese Wildlife Police officers wearing a copy of the US-designed three-color desert pattern.

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  • Since at least 2014, the Presidential Republican Guard has also worn a copy of the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) developed in the United States. Whether this has replaced the previously worn tiger stripe pattern or is simply worn alternatively, has yet to be seen.

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  • In 2014, soldiers and officers of the SPLA were first observed wearing a copy of the British desert DPM pattern camouflage.

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  • Also first observed in 2014, the wearing of an Asian-made copy of USMC desert MARPAT is also common within some elements of the SPLA.

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  • These two variations of DPM have come into service circa 2013-14 with the South Sudan Police Service (SSPS). Similar in some respects to the variations worn by Oman, one of these versions has a more distinctively orange tone, whilst the other also includes shades of pink.

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