Extremism, Violent Extremism and Terrorism (EVET) in South Sudan

Summary report on Extremism, Violent Extremism and Terrorism (EVET) in South Sudan


In 2011, at the time of South Sudan’s independence, there were fears that the country would become home to violent extremists. However, there is consensus in the literature that levels of violent extremism (VE) in the country are low at present. It is, however, noteworthy that there are many definitions of extremism and violent extremism. For the purposes of this report, the emphasis is placed on extremism and terrorism in the context of the global threat of extremism and terrorism, rather than on ethnic extremism in South Sudan. This is due to the difficulty of distinguishing genuine political grievances from extremist ideology, as the lines between the two are often blurred in South Sudan. One of the key findings is South Sudan appears to have become a place of transit for Islamists travelling from East Africa to North Africa. However, the extent to which this is the case is unclear. In addition to this, support for faith-based violence in South Sudan appears to be higher among Muslim religious leaders than among Christian religious leaders. This is attributed to the fact that these Muslim religious leaders are likely to have received their training in Sudan (the north) before South Sudan seceded (Romaniuk et al, 2018). Finally, there are a limited number of initiatives and programmes to prevent violent extremism in South Sudan. To date these have included capacity building in the education sector and teaching anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing techniques.

K4D helpdesk reports provide summaries of current research, evidence and lessons learned. This report was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development.


Strachan, A.L. (2019). Violent extremism in South Sudan. K4D Helpdesk Report 533. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.

Extremism, Violent Extremism and Terrorism (EVET) in South Sudan

Published 22 February 2019