June 18, 2016, The former head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, Hilde F. Johnson, has written a book about the conflict in the country.
South Sudan gained independence and became the world’s newest country in July 2011.
However, barely 3 years after this achievement, political discrepancies within the ruling SPLM party plunged the young nation into the civil war.
Ms Johnson, who was by then the Special Representative of the UN Secretary- General from 2011-2014, witnessed the many challenges which the country faced as it struggled to adjust to its new autonomous state.
In the book, entitled, South Sudan: The Untold Story from Independence to Civil War, Ms Johnson provides a unique insider’s account of South Sudan’s descent from the ecstatic celebrations of July 2011 to the outbreak of the disastrous conflict in December 2013 and the early phases of the fighting.
From 2007- 2011 Hilde F. Johnson was Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, where she was in charge of the organization’s humanitarian operations, crisis response and security issues.
In addition, she was a key player in brokering the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) for Sudan in 2005.
South Sudan: The Untold Story from Independence to Civil War, which will be launched in London on Tuesday next week, brings to two the number of books she has written about South Sudan.
The Tanzania-born Norwegian is also the author of Waging Peace in Sudan: The Inside Story of the Negotiations That Ended Africa’s Longest Civil War.
Two months prior to expiry of her contract in July 2014, Ms Johnson announced she would step down as the UNMISS chief.
“I informed the President (Salva Kiir) that by Independence Day in July, I will have completed my three years as Special Representative, which is much more than usual for an SRSG in a peacekeeping mission of this nature, and in particular with the crisis that we’ve gone through,” Johnson told reporters during a briefing in which she declined to take questions.
The government had been critical of UNMISS, especially since the fighting broke out in mid-December 2013.
President Kiir had accused UNMISS of attempting to run a parallel government.
During anti-UN demonstrations in Juba in March 2014, demonstrators carried placards bearing Johnson’s image, accusing the 50-year old of killing the people of South Sudan and siding with the SPLM-IO in the conflict.
The protests followed the alleged discovery by security officials of weapons in a UNMISS convoy.
The UN mission is prohibited from carrying weapons by land and called it an unfortunate mistake. Protesters accused UNMISS of attempting to arm opposition forces, an accusation UN officials denied.