South Sudan is four years old today. In the capital city of Juba, the government will celebrate this anniversary for the world’s youngest nation with a parade.
Billboards around town proclaim peace and unity ahead of Independence Day. President Salva Kiir is due to speak before a large crowd. The city is already teeming with his heavily armed soldiers from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).
But civil war has consumed South Sudan since December 2013.
In April this year, the army launched major military assaults on opposition-held areas across oil-rich Unity and Upper Nile states in a bid to reclaim territory and push back rebel forces before the onset of the rainy season in June.
Civilians have borne the brunt of this offensive.