South Sudan (Rumbek, Mvolo, Mundri, Kotobi, Juba, Malaria, NGOs, Public Health, People, Cultures)

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A young Dinka man in a cattle camp in Eastern Rumbek, South Sudan keeps his AK-47 close..This photo depicts the commonality of weaponry, even in remote cattle camps like this one. South Sudan has endured generations of civil war - a Comprehensive Peace Agrement between the Government of Sudan in Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) was signed only in January 2005. ..When I lived in South Sudan in 2005-2006, ordinary people - men, women, and children - carrying their AK-47s in the market or on the main road through town was a common sight. Given this context, gunfights between men who had been drinking - or among families during civil disputes - were also "normal." Particularly in ethnic Dinka areas, where Dinka sub-tribes traditionally clash, carrying AK-47s and other guns is a simple means of protection...At the time of this photo - November 2005 - the SPLM authorities in Rumbek were conducting a demobilization campaign. Just after I took this photo, this young man was disarmed and his AK-47 claimed by the local police commissioner for Eastern Rumbek County. I was surprised at how calmly the young man gave up his weapon. Despite the targeted demobilization, guns remain common, especially in more rural areas.