After more than 50 years of conflict in Sudan between the North (mainly Arabic speaking and Muslim) and the South (mainly traditional religions and Christian) Omar al-Bashir and John Garang in 2005 signed a peace agreement. More than 2 million lives had been lost. The Southerners voted for Independence and in 2011 South Sudan was born.
From 2013 there were ethnic conflicts. Because of the years of North/South conflict there were plenty of arms, lots of armed groups, corruption and economic competition for resources.
With the split between supporters of President Salva Kiir (often Dinkas) and supporters of Vice-President Riek Machar (often Nuer), thousands of civilians have been raped, tortured or killed for ethnic reasons. 3 million have had to flee their homes, and there have been attacks on humanitarian personnel.
Despite international peace initiatives, there has been a marked increase in violence and hate speech and the conflict has spread. In 2016 there were growing fears in the UN of genocide.
Now, South Sudan has been hit by an East Africa-wide drought that has pushed Somalia and other countries to the brink of famine.
South Sudan is predominantly Christian; about a third of the population, including president Salva Kiir, is Catholic.