Thousands walked along the rain-soaked road. Their faces covered in dirt, some in blood. Their eyes cried for safety. Thousands more added to the 1.6 million of displaced people in South Sudan – desperately fleeing some of the worst violence in Africa’s newest nation.
In December 2013, South Sudan’s then vice president, Riek Machar, fled to the bush amid accusations from President Salva Kiir of trying to stage a coup. The truth of what actually happened is still unclear.
Nevertheless, Machar did not go alone. An experienced military leader, he took with him an army of rebels. An inter-tribal civil war has ravaged the newly-formed country ever since.
South Sudan is one of the world’s least developed countries; born out of Africa’s longest running civil war. In 2005, a peace deal ended the war and six years later, the country gained independence. The oil-rich region of Unity State saw a lot of commercial investment during this time and offered the country hope of prosperity. At the outbreak of war, this area would become a fiercely contested prize.