South Sudan – 8th Sitrep on the Conflict in Jonglei State

LWF South Sudan – Weekly Update No. 8

20 February 2012

Situation Report

As a consequence of the non-aggression and cooperation pact signed by the two Sudans in Addis Ababa on 15 February delegations from Khartoum and Juba agreed to immediately demarcate the border between the two countries as a step towards quelling the current cross-border violence. (Sudan Tribune & BBC)

Returnees – The spontaneous return of South Sudanese from Sudan has continued with over 750 people arriving from the 9 – 16 February. The total number of returnees coming home to South Sudan since October 2010 stands at over 365,000. South Sudan and Sudan signed an agreement on the return of South Sudanese living in Sudan, valid until 8 April. Humanitarian organisations are preparing for a mass influx of up to 500,000 returnees, many of whom are predicted to return before 12 April 2012. (OCHA)

Food Security – According to the World Food Program if conflict continues to force people from their homes and food prices keep rising, the number of people who are severely-food insecure in South Sudan could double.

Disarmament – It is widely acknowledged at all levels throughout South Sudan that violence will continue unless a comprehensive disarmament program takes place. Whether this will be achieved peacefully or by force is a matter of opinion. Estimates on the number of weapons in the country conclude that there is an average of eight guns for every 100 people in the civilian population and at least one per person in armed groups.

The Small Arms Survey, an independent Swiss NGO, says that the Government of South Sudan’s peace building strategy is to forcefully disarm the population first, then control arms in the long-term while fostering reconciliation. The aim is to save lives in the short term and prevent Khartoum from waging another proxy war through armed Southern groups.

Jonglei’s minister of Law Enforcement, Gabriel Duop Lam, has urged citizens in Jonglei to cooperate with the South Sudan military to disarm peacefully. He says that three battalions are already in Bor County and some more forces are on their way to Jonglei to begin the disarmament exercise. The Nuer White Army, who claim responsibility for the recent raids, say that they will deploy 30,000 armed men around Pibor to “quarantine” the Murle. (Sudan Tribune)

Jonglei – Six people were killed and four wounded in three attacks in the state, according to the United Nations. The initial phase of the emergency response operation is complete for parts of Jonglei State. However, insecurity continues to hamper relief efforts in northern areas. (OCHA)

The vice president of South Sudan Riek Machar together with governor of Lakes, Unity and Warrap states met on Saturday morning to discuss cattle rustling and border issues. The chiefs of Mapel County told Machar the cattle rustling can largely be blamed on the lack of development and roads that would connect communities. Constructing roads would encourage communities of each county to trade commodities instead of raiding each others’ cattle. (Sudan Tribune)

People have been steadily returning to their villages in Pibor, Gumuruk, Likuangole and surrounding areas in the east of Jonglei. The provision of clean drinking water in affected northern areas remains deficient due to access constraints and a limited number of aid agencies on the ground. (OCHA)

Unity and Nile States – Over 100,000 refugees in Upper Nile and Unity states are fleeing fighting in Sudan and an estimated 110,000 people have been displaced from Abyei. Humanitarian assistance continues to some 26,400 refugees in Unity State, who have fled ongoing fighting in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan State. (OCHA)

LWF Response

As major attacks have abated over the last few weeks, LWF has been able to continue its’ development programs shifting the nature of the response from emergency relief to rebuilding. The current focus of these programs is livelihoods, food security and peace building in a long-term effort to reduce the likelihood of future cattle raids. The strategy is to shift the community’s resources from pastoralism to crop cultivation.

Food Security – The recommencement of LWF’s development programs is allowing the distribution of fishing kits and seeds to take place. Seeds are being transported to northern Jonglei and will be distributed when the rains begin, which is predicted to be in March. 1000 fishing kits are being transported to Pibor county where they will be distributed among communities affected by the violence that has occurred there.

Water and Sanitation – CARE International is working in Twic East county, based in Panyagor. They have Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) capacity and they are currently conducting an assessment in this area. Once the needs are identified and if additional WASH capacity is needed Norwegian Church Aid (the lead agency within the ACT Alliance for WASH) is available to consider deployment if it is required.

Non-Food Items (NFIs) – LWF’s consignment of 2500 NFI kits have arrived in Bor, where 1000 will be stored. The remaining 1500 have been transported to Panyagor from where they will be distributed or stored for distribution at a later date.

Peace Building – Continuing LWF development programs include peace building. As the Small Arms Survey states ‘fewer weapons in circulation could also help to restore the authority of traditional leaders and resolve inter-communal conflicts’. Regardless of the pace or way that disarmament occurs, LWF has community leaders on peace committees at the village level and has funded the Sudan Council of Churches to reach out to those who live in the cattle camps and who are behind the violent cattle raids.

Arie Den Toom

LWF South Sudan Representative

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