saving south sudan doc



The civil war in South Sudan that began on December 15, 2013, shows no sign of abating. While the United States threatens to slap increasingly strict sanctions on anyone who stands in the way of the overarching concept of “peace,” Riek Machar’s forces...


Machot's Meltdown

Evidence of war crimes is all around us. Dinkas murdered in their hospital beds. Girls raped and thrown away like garbage. The elderly gunned down. The Rebels walk away without noticing the carnage.


The White Army

This is chapter 20 of Robert Young Pelton and Tim Freccia's sprawling 35,000-plus-word epic exploration of the crisis in South Sudan. You can skip ahead and read the full text here or


The Holy Land

After spending days talking to Machar, we learn that the White Army is heading north to stage an assault on Malakal. So we need to get there—first by boat to Nasir, then by vehicle to Malakal.


A Grain of Truth

I still haven’t gotten a clear answer on what, in Machar’s view, lies at the core of his troubled relationship with President Kiir. And I’m determined to get there.


The Prophet

Riek Machar can seem like an enlightened Westerner, with his casual English accent, Christian values, and genial dismissal of conspiracies, superstitions, and other things that are not backed up by logic and facts.


I Didn't Even Take My Purse

When I talk to Riek Machar’s wife, Angelina Teny, the war doesn’t seem so large and confusing. Even though she’s a former minister of energy and mining, she takes pleasure in cooking and serving food to those in the camp. Her view of recent events is...


The Park Ranger

Lesson one: Riek Machar is more of a geek than a soldier. Lesson two: Machar likes people to do things for him. Lesson three: Running a remote-access revolution requires a table full of Thurayas, internet access, and stacks of phone cards.


Cowboy Capitalists

Parastatals, they are called—deep-pocked corporations seemingly immune to the international criticism about the human rights violations involved in extracting the oil out of southern and central Sudan.


Kill Them with Fire

In April 1996, spurred on by promises of support from China and desperate to increase production, Sudan signed a vaguely worded agreement called the Political Charter with Riek Machar to end his rebels’ attacks on the oil fields.


Unholy Alliance

In September 1983, Riek Machar and his associates discovered a powerful ally: Muammar Qaddafi. Earlier that year, President Ronald Reagan of the US had called Qaddafi “the mad dog of the Middle East,” but he was a mad dog with billions in oil revenue...


Life Under the Trees

We’ve made it to Akobo, headquarters of the new Nuer rebellion. We have pissed off our hosts, bickered with one another for over 150 bumpy miles, hunted food, traded jokes, and destroyed Tim’s laptop.