The Key Catalysts that Contribute to the Deterioration of Security: Case Study of Jonglei State, South Sudan

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(Dissertation Report Submitted to the Faculty of Defence and Security as Requirement for the Partial fulfilment of Master’s Degree in Management Science of Cranfield University

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By Kuol Gabriel Nyok Kur

Executive Summary

The phenomena of cattle raiding, inter-tribal conflict and revenge killings amongst the pastoralists of South Sudan particularly in Jonglei State where the trend has increased international concern over the past few years given its intensity in terms of lives and properties as to how the newest nation can overcome the challenges of nation-building in terms of governance. For example, on  1st January 2012, a group of armed Lou Nuer youth estimated at 6,000 attacked Pibor town targeting members of Murle ethnic background at the same time burning down all the existing infrastructures as well as killing 1,000 civilians. This barbaric behaviour by the state inhabitants has left the state exposed to the ravages of insecurity hence, the deteriorating security situation in Jonglei State.

A pie chart showing the parties involved in the Jonglei Conflict

A pie chart showing the parties involved in the Jonglei Conflict

Though it is well noted that the key drivers toward the deterioration of security situation in Jonglei state is tribal rivalry, it should consequently be noted in the context of the above background that the understanding underpin to cattle in South Sudan is quite different from that of general understanding. Cattle in the pastoralist’s keeping communities are measure of wealth, prestige, payment of bride price and performing rituals. For example, those who own nothing are sometimes not given social status in the community; this has made many people within those communities (Dinka, Nuer and Murle) resort to cattle raiding strategy.

In summary therefore, the researcher recommends that the key catalysts that contribute or steer inter-tribal conflicts in Jonglei state of South Sudan can only be minimized through consensus building, collaboration, reconciliation and forgiveness among different communities (Dinka, Nuer and Murle) of Jonglei State with prime motive of forging state’s unity.


The Republic of South Sudan (RSS) attained her statehood (independence) from the Republic of Sudan on July 9th 2011. For many years, the semi-autonomous region (Southern Sudan) had suffered ravages of wars in pursuit to achieve independence. However, the untimely death of the Late Dr. John Garang De Mabior after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) created a leadership void that became a battle ground for fighting by South Sudanese political elites. These series of wars left nothing unturned in term of infrastructures and human lost. To develop these ravages of war, peace-building, conflict resolution and conflict management serves as a prerequisite for restoring peace in the post conflict state.

The ‘‘conflict management’’ theorists see violent conflicts as an ineradicable consequence of difference of values and interests within and among communities. However, there are no ways violent conflicts can be ended unless through cooperation-based or interest-based agreement between warring parties.  According to proponents of conflict management, the propensity to violence arises from existing institutions and historical relationships as well as from the established distribution of power. The resolution of such conflicts according to the proponent of conflict management is reaching a historic compromise in which violence may be laid aside and normal politics resumed. This was the case with the SPLM/SPLA and the Khartoum regime (NCP) when they sat down in Machakos (Kenya) and clear their differences through negotiated settlement in 2005.

Conflict Management on the other hand according to Hopmann (1996:445) is the ability to manage conflict effectively. In this context therefore, conflict management refers to different ways in which people handle grievances-clashes between right and wrong. It includes a wide range of issues such as gossiping, ridicule, lynching, terrorism, warfare, feuding and genocide. Some of the mentioned forms of conflicts can effectively be managed through mediation and avoidance.

In the word of Bloomfield and Reilly (Bloomfield and Reilly 1998, 18); conflict management is the positive and constructive handling of difference and divergence. Rather than advocating methods for removing conflict, it addresses the more realistic question of managing conflict; how to deal with it in a constructive way, how to bring opposing sides together in a cooperative process, how to design a practical, achievable, cooperative system for the constructive management of difference.

However, the conflict resolution theorists, in contrast reject this power political view of conflict, and according to this school of thought, they argue that in communal and identity conflicts, people cannot compromise on their fundamental needs. They argue that conflict resolution is possible if parties involved can be helped to explore, analyse, question and reframe their positions and interests. Conflict resolution therefore calls for the intervention of skilled but powerless third-parties in designing new ways of resolving protracted conflict.

Azar and Burton (1986, 1) on the other hand say that, conflict resolution is about how parties can move from zero-sum, destructive patterns of conflict to positive-sum constructive outcomes. The essence of this concept is to find a possible framework acceptable to parties in conflict.

A slight departure from this view is that which is espoused by the conflict transformation theorists argue that modern conflicts need more than reframing of positions and the identification of win-win solutions. In their analysis, conflict transformation is a process of engaging with and transforming the relationships, interests, discourses and, if necessary, the very constitution of society that supports the continuation of violent conflict. For them (conflict transformation theorists), constructive conflict according to them is seen as a vital agent or catalyst for change. Conflict transformation therefore calls for wide range approaches such as process of peace building and peacekeeping for the resolution of conflict situation. This suggests a comprehensive and wide range of issues for instance, supporting the conflict prone societies than a mere mediation process. Lederach states that conflict transformation must actively envision, include, respect, and promote the human and cultural resources from within a given setting. In his reasoning, this involves a new set of lenses through which we do not primarily, see’ the setting and the people in it as the, problem’ and the outsider as the, answer’. Rather, we understand the long-term good of transformation as validating and building on people and resources within the setting (Lederach, 1995).


Statement of the Problem

Conflict in Jonglei State has deep roots. Historically, Nuer, Dinka and Murle pastoralists all participated in cyclical cattle raiding and child abduction. Cattle are central not only to all three communities’ livelihoods but also to their social and cultural systems. During the twentieth century, the proliferation of guns, the commercialization of cattle and rising bride prices made cattle raiding more violent and more lucrative. Customary mechanisms for addressing cattle raiding became less effective as governance systems changed and respect for traditional leadership declined.

After over 40 years of bitter civil war, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 ended overt conflict between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the Sudanese government. However, it did little to improve security and community’s relations in Jonglei State. Communities remain divided and continue to raid each other’s cattle. Both the Lou Nuer and the Murle communities feel politically and economically marginalized by the politically dominant Bor Dinka; the Murle in particular feel threatened as they have little physical presence in the capital, Bor town, or representation in the Jonglei State government.

The 2010 elections sparked a number of insurgencies in South Sudan. In Jonglei State, General George Athor and David Yau Yau formed interlinked rebellions. Although the insurgencies ended in 2011 with the death of Athor and an amnesty for Yau Yau, tensions continued to escalate. Raids between communities culminated in an attack in December 2011/January 2012 by over 6,000 Lou Nuer on Murle in Pibor County, resulting in massive displacement, loss of life, the abduction of children and women and cattle raiding. Meanwhile, in February 2012 the SPLA began a disarmament process across Jonglei. This proceeded peacefully everywhere except Pibor County, where there were reports of the rape and torture of Murle civilians by SPLA troops. The following April Yau Yau defected again to Khartoum, and in August he re-established his militia in Pibor County and named it the COBRA faction. Insecurity in Pibor and surrounding counties increased significantly. Other communities are frustrated with the increased level of cattle raiding allegedly perpetrated by Murle youth and Yau Yau’s militia, and the absence of state action to address this insecurity.[1]

The government has responded to insecurity in Jonglei in several ways. It initially sought to bring insurgent groups back into the SPLA, including offering an amnesty to Yau Yau and his followers, but the SPLA rank and files are less willing than their superiors to accommodate militia groups such as Yau Yau’s. There is no comprehensive strategy to reduce cattle raiding and violence more generally, and disarmament efforts in Pibor have only served to exacerbate tensions. The SPLA battalion responsible for disarmament in Pibor was largely composed of Nuer and Dinka officers, who took the opportunity to take revenge for earlier cattle raids on their communities by members of the Murle community. Reports of rape and torture further enraged Murle youth and drove them deeper into the bush; until communities are confident that the SPLA and the police will protect them they are unlikely to surrender their guns. Organisations raising concerns over human rights abuses against civilians were intimidated by the state and national government, which put pressure on them not to report abuses. An Investigations Committee formed to look into the causes of the violence and hold the perpetrators to account never became operational, ostensibly because of a lack of funding.

Attempts to address insecurity and respond to its humanitarian consequences have had mixed results. In mid-2011 the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC) launched a project to strengthen dialogue within and between Dinka, Nuer and Murle communities to address recent violence and prevent relations from deteriorating further. However, the process quickly unrivalled as alleged political manipulation stoked perceptions of bias, and communities increasingly felt that dialogue was being used as a substitute for state intervention to protect lives. Following the Lou Nuer attack on the Murle at the turn of the year the government and the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) initiated the Jonglei Peace Process. Although this succeeded in bringing about a temporary cessation of violence, it did little to advance reconciliation and peacebuilding between the communities involved, and was seen by many in the Murle community as partisan and promoting a Dinka Bor agenda. Other organizations working on peace, as well as local pastors, felt that the Anglican and Catholic Churches spearheading the initiative should have made greater efforts to ensure that Presbyterian leaders on the ground were fully engaged in the process. The Presbyterian Church is the main religious organization in Lou Nuer and Murle areas, and Catholics and Anglicans have very little presence. Members of the Murle community felt marginalized, believing that they were being used as scapegoats for the raiding and political unrest in Jonglei State, and little has been done to implement resolutions related to services, security, protection, justice and accountability.

A number of other peace processes have been facilitated by local and international organizations, including AECOM, Pact South Sudan, Non Violent Peace Force, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). International organizations are working with UNMISS and Murle leaders to bring Yau Yau back into the SPLA, and UNMISS has provided logistical support to the government and humanitarian actors, particularly transport, during the rainy season, when many areas are cut off. However, overall the international community has failed to put pressure on either the South Sudan government or the government in Jonglei to meet their responsibilities for security and protection. No international body has condemned the attack on the Murle in 2011–12 or the abuses perpetrated during the disarmament process, and no internal or external investigation has been undertaken into the causes of the Murle attack.

Between January 2011 and September 2012 conflict in Jonglei State left more than 2,700 people dead and displaced more than 200,000. Akobo and Pibor counties have been particularly hard hit. Health, education and water and sanitation services have been disrupted or destroyed, and international organizations are unwilling to increase their presence in an insecure area. Unusual weather patterns and flooding affected an additional 201,000 people in Jonglei during the rainy season in 2012.[2] Food insecurity has increased dramatically across much of the state, with particularly severe effects in Akobo and Pibor as reported by UN OCHA, 31 Dec 2012.

Humanitarian actors face a number of challenges in responding to conflict-related needs. Few agencies are present in the affected area and their capacity to scale up the response is low. Prepositioning of stocks is difficult and response times have accordingly been slow. Staff turnover is high and staff presence sporadic, making it difficult to base responses on a good understanding of the context, and without proper Do No Harm analysis what activities are undertaken risk contributing to tensions between communities. For example, the provision of assistance to Murle communities targeted in recent raiding has caused resentment in neighboring communities, who perceive that they have not received the same level of support. Given the high levels of need most organizations have had to focus primarily on crisis response, rather than support for conflict mitigation and prevention.

Very little development work is being done. AECOM is supporting infrastructure development and livelihoods, and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is providing livelihood support to pastoralists. CRS, in collaboration with Save the Children, is implementing a food security program, and the UN Development Program (UNDP) and others have supported state planning processes. One key area is the construction of all-weather roads to connect remote and isolated areas with centers of governance and economic activity. There is also scope to improve river transport. However, no organizations are focusing on this critical area of development because of the security risks and high costs involved. The creation of a buffer zone between Murle, Dinka and Nuer areas, with military and police based at regular intervals along it, would help to reduce cattle raiding between these communities, but this has been rejected by the government on grounds due to cost maintenance, and in any case the SPLA is not willing to deploy troops in these remote areas. Governance structures need strengthening at the county and payam levels. Some progress has been made in bringing government institutions closer to the grassroots, but progress is slow and hampered by insecurity and logistical problems. Capacity-building, both in terms of training and logistical support, is greatly needed in security provision, and local civil society and traditional leaders should be supported to work with their communities to change attitudes and improve relations with local government actors.

Purpose of the Study

The primary purpose of this research project is to critically examine the major causes of inter-tribal conflicts and provide knowledge on the impact these conflicts may have on the state development from the onset and subsequently and how these affects the living conditions of each household. The researcher will also explore community’s response toward the current trends relating to inter-tribal conflicts and what are the differences in the community perceptions versus state interpretations of security and how do these trends shape the security concept as part of South Sudan’s state-building effort.

Specific Objectives

  • To examine whether if the major causes of the current intertribal conflicts are purely tribal in nature as branded by South Sudan government and other media outlets or resource base conflicts, since most of them relates to cattle raiding and child abduction in Jonglei state of South Sudan.
  • To critically analyze the driving factors that contributes toward the intertribal conflicts in Jonglei state of South Sudan.
  • To explore community’s response toward the intertribal fights in Jonglei state and the differences in the community perceptions versus state interpretations of the current deteriorating security situation in Jonglei and how do these trends shape the security concept as part of South Sudan’s state-building effort.
  • To assess government’s attitude toward the current trends in the Jonglei state of South Sudan.
  • To determine whether there is any state based plan towards the continuing intertribal conflicts and what means the state government has for improving the living conditions of the affected communities.


  • Data gathered will be used to analyse and find solution reference to Jonglei state
  • The recommendation obtained from this research shall be helpful in finding solution for the lasting peace in Jonglei state
  • It will show the way forward in societal stability after the analysis of data

Research Questions

  1. What are the key drivers of inter-tribal conflict in Jonglei state?
  2. Outline the major causes of insecurity in Jonglei state?
  3. What are the prerequisites for achieving lasting socio-political stability in Jonglei state?


The key catalysts that contribute to the deterioration of security situation in Jonglei state of South Sudan, is equally imperative is the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) with their ammunitions into the hands of civilian population in addition to illicit circulation of these small arms in Jonglei state perhaps as the key catalysts contributing factors toward the exacerbation of intertribal conflicts. Another factor that the researcher noticed is the lack of legal framework from the state authorities for managing the conflict in Jonglei state of South Sudan.

In summary therefore, the hypothesis is that there are observable key catalysts that support conflict leading to deterioration of insecurity in Jonglei state.

Scope of the Study

This research project concentrated on Bor County where most of Jonglei tribes are also represented given its advantage as the state capital. The targeted population are the youths, women and elderly who have on most cases been the subject of these inter-communal conflicts throughout the post CPA down to self-rule and the elites from Jonglei who have in one way or another shared knowledge and influence in their respective constituencies.


The research faces the following limitations;

  1. Time frame allocated for the research is limited to 9 months and may affect the data to be collected since less sampling will be obtained due to time available.
  2. Respondents’ knowledge of the facts being investigated or researched about will vary the amount of information to be gathered in terms of data correctness/validity.
  3. Respondents’ responses to research questionnaires
  4. Paper work (monetary). This dissertation is likely to be affected by monetary problem such as cost of buying printing and typing materials.


The researcher looked or studied only the key catalysts that contribute to the deterioration of security situation in Jonglei state of South Sudan and did not include the overall causes of insecurity in the republic of South Sudan. The researcher administered questionnaires to community representative in Jonglei state of South Sudan.

Chapter Two: Literature Review

Even if they have never seen a gun, millions of children suffer from wars, as resources that could have been invested in the development are diverted into armaments. Indeed, one of the most distressing realities of our time is that most wars have been fought in precisely those countries that could least afford them. “State of the World’s Children, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 1996. 

Conflict may mean different things to many scholars; for example, Ramsbotham, Woodhouse and Miall in their book titled: Contemporary Conflict Resolution, look at conflict as the pursuit of incompatible goals by different groups (2011-2012 p.30). However, others viewed conflict as fighting by groups of people with incompatible goals. Nana-Sinkam purports that conflict is, “a violent, extremely destructive reciprocal engagement between two states or groups of people within a discernible political space against each other” (Omarjee & Lau 2005:43), for example, conflict can happen when there is no access to political right, economic and underdevelopment. Though conflict commence as lack of political space, scholars from Sudan consented by pointing at separate development [South v North] (Abraham 2006:173), as principal cause to conflict situation in the Sudan (1983). With this definition, the paradox surrounding conflict are ambiguities associated with; sometimes understood as a fight between groups with incompatible views. However, it is also crucial to specify the degree of violent conflict in order to develop a strategy of managing conflict situations from an African standpoint. The existing works show that African conflicts exist in competition of state resources such as land and mineral (Omarjee & Lau 2005).

What can be deduced from the above definition is that conflict can be seen as a clash of interests based on the party’s position and in that case, for example, if parties failed to reach compromise as it was with Apartheid rules in South Africa, Hartmann suggested a need of reconciling difference interest through the creation of win-win situations for all relevant stakeholders (Nhema & Zeleza 2008:93). Paul Lederach’s (1997) also asserted that, different actors have specific capacities and roles within conflict management. The scholars of this discipline looked at it as: “an interaction between interdependent people who perceive incompatible goals and who expect interference from the other party if they attempt to achieve their goals (Draman May 2003). On one hand, scholars like Goodman (2001) view conflict as a “struggle, between individuals or groups, over values or claims to status, power, and scarce resources, in which the aims of the conflicting parties are to assert their values or claims over others”. To Galtung however, every conflict contains an inner contradiction, either in that the same scarce goal is pursued by another actor or in that the actor pursues two incompatible goals (Galtung, 1996a).The basic conflict formation in Galtung’s theory is labelled a ‘dispute’, whereas the second formation is called a catch-22. When conflicts reach to the level of catch-22, they are generally hard to control. This coincides with Coser’s argument; (1956:8) that competition for limited resources or political alienation gives birth to conflict when one believes he/she lives at the expense of the other. Making the situation, a win-lose situation therefore.

Herewith, it is also crucial to understand why conflicts occur. The definition entails what the major causes of conflict in Africa are. But still, it is rather the nature of inequitable distribution of natural resources than the extent of inequitable distribution of resources that, determines the likelihood of violent conflict. Research has found that, violent conflict sits in inequitable distribution of resources, rivalry identities and ideologies, or competition for government power are most likely to result to violent conflict. Yet Nelson, criticised government in accelerating conflict environment (2000:37). Nelson’s argument is that; unfair political representation and corrupt political leaders in most cases contribute to continuation of violent conflict. Affirming the above statement, conflicts deeply situated in ethnicities and national hostility is always difficult, and hampers the provision of basic services to the people (Mai and Kuol, 2009:65).

Understanding the concept of conflict

There are enormous amounts of literature in related disciplines such as political science, sociology and international relations. However, most of these writings only pay attention to the impact of conflict, the roots cause of conflicts, the nature of conflict, and the role of different players in the conflicts and mechanisms of conflict resolution. Yet, scholars of these disciplines have done little to look at the key catalysts that contribute to conflict situation in most parts of the world which this study is yet to explore. The interpretation the conflict situation does not necessarily mean physical confrontation. But, the transformation of a conflict situation lies in the agreement and compromise between incompatible parties such that future conflicts are not reproduced. For instance, the South Africa Review of Sociology 2008 stated that a lack of resolution mechanisms often leads to serious human rights injustices by citing the example of Rwanda Genocide (1994). It was also cited in Omarjee and Lau that Africa’s greatest challenge lies in the elimination of armed conflicts that range from intrastate to interstate, genocide, repression, other human rights abuses, terrorism and organised crime (Omarjee & Lau, 2005). All these, have however acted as prolific ground for those perpetrating violence conflicts against civilian population.

Looking precisely at the concept of conflict, it is reasonable to say, conflict is one of the oldest concepts and its emergence predates human v history. The clear example of this can be traced to Cain and Abel’s enmity over who gives the best in term of their presents to Jehovah in the Old Testament (Genesis 4:1-8). This confirmed Galtung’s perception of conflict as being inextricably tied to individual human, moral behaviour, and its psychological and physical features i.e.; conscious and subconscious (Galtung, 1996a, 89). However with human growth, so has the scope of violent conflict increased, hence creating predation situation where the physically powerful live on the pathetic. It is equally important considering the view of this academic who also stated in his book titled Armed Conflict and the Law that conflicts are natural, normal, and neutral and they can also occur at different levels of the society. In his argument, conflicts are natural because they predate back to the beginning of the creation and still find their ways in our generation as epitomized in Cain and Abel’s story. Conflicts are normal because they occur wherever groups of people interact. Neutral in the sense that, they do not spare their targets, be they toddlers, women or elders (Appolos, 2010, p.3). For instance, the ongoing conflicts in Jonglei State adding to December 15 2013; both of which did neither know nor spare any of the tribes (Dinka, Nuer or Murle to mention but a few) involve in the conflict, but cuts across without distinction either. The above argument therefore aids our understanding that conflicts are naturally devastating and know no human border. The point is that; there is need to be cautious when involved in conflict environments with regard to their consequential effects.

Given the nature and the continuing violent conflicts of all forms around the world, there have been sharp arguments from the international aid agencies, policy makers, and academics on the possible causes of violent conflicts and the ways forward into ending violence conflicts. In addition, it is important to note that these violent conflicts are more frequent in the developing world (Poku, 2008 p.103).

Some of the worst scenarios and registered ethnic conflicts since 1990s include Rwanda, Sudan, Zaire, Somalia, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Uganda, Chad, Madagascar and Kenya (Appolos, 2010) to mention but the list is long. The question concerns why this phenomenon seems to affect the developing world (Africa) most consistently and most regularly? To augment this argument, experts on conflict resolution and conflict management identify lack of transformational leadership and mismanagement of public resources as key aspects in continuing violence conflicts. On the other hand, existing work shows that most conflicts in Africa have their roots in domestic politics (Nhema and Zeleza 2008:9). The argument presented attributes Africa’s intractable conflicts to their domino effect, which most leaders in African are reluctant to end from the start and spilled over to other regions consequently. Considering these predicaments, it is imperative to have an integrated regional approach to conflict resolution in African states through, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Nevertheless, instead of this regional body to come up with modalities for ending the endemic conflict, such as the imposition of penalties on individuals prolonging the conflict situation in the country, it has comprehensively failed to bring the warring parties (SPLM and SPLM-IO) in the South Sudan conflict into common understanding of how to resolve their differences.


Conflicts classification and the types of conflict

Generally speaking, conflicts are classified on the frequency and the degree of violence involved. Despite social conflicts being unavoidable and desirable as noted by the social scientists, it is the escalation and de-escalation of violent conflict that needs to be controlled, ended or managed in Hartmann’s analysis (Nhema & Zeleza, 2008:92). The concept of crisis prevention in view of the writer is dealing with the roots of conflicts while latent. Once that latency bounced, healing and reconciliation process are hard to be established.

Another way to appreciate how conflicts ensue is grouping them based on root causes. Conflict scholars; distinguish resource-based conflicts (competition for economic power, access to natural resources), conflicts over governance and authority (based on competition for political power and participation in the political course), ideological conflicts (involving different values), and identity conflicts (based on competition between rival ethnicities, religious settings for instance, Christianity in opposition to Islamic faith or other identity groups for both economic and political power and social justice are also cited in Nhema & Zeleza; 2008 ( Rupesinghe; 1998). Looking critically at the Sudanese and Africa conflicts, most causes revolve around resource distribution, power struggle, and at minimal, the marginalisation of majority and vice versa other than ideological perception of Race and Religion as documented (Deng, 1995 and Kruger, 2009:26).

Another way conflicts can be classified and the most widely used method in conflict management and resolution is to appreciate the role of individual and collective actors involved in the conflicts.[3] The logic according to Hartmann is creating win-win situations for all stakeholders.

Overview of conflict in the Horn of Africa

Since this study is going to examine key catalysts that contribute to deterioration of security in Jonglei state of South Sudan, it is equally imperative to look at some concepts that relate to conflict issues and how do these affect different communities as they unfold. However, the purpose of this chapter is to review related literature on the historical root causes of conflicts in Africa whilst underestimating the Greater Horn of Africa as well as the view of historians on the Sudan conflict prior to South Sudan independence. The chapter will also examine the roles of the African Union and other regional organisations in resolving conflicts as it was during the resolution of Africa’s (North-South protracted civil conflict) in South Sudan and its relevance in the context of Jonglei state.

The economic and political causes of conflict

There are multifarious explanations as to roots cause of conflicts in Africa. Empirical work shows that conflicts in the third world countries have similar features with immediate factors including lack of democratisation and legal safeguards commonly known as Rule of Law, and according to these supporters, conflicts [Africa] can be minimized in an environment that encourages substantive participation in economic and socio-political realms. And in perception, attempts to exclude average citizen from participating; creates rift between the rulers and the governed (Nhema and Zeleza 2008:2). Nevertheless, the scholars of conflict (Pondy, 1967; Ruble & Thomas, 1976; Dessler, 1980; Moore, 1986; Pruitt & Rubin, 1986) concur that the causes of conflict are multifaceted, predominantly, competition for scarce resources (i.e. education and health facilities); differences in terms of goals, value systems, and interests; and structural imbalances and ambiguity in coordinating social structures. Most conflict derives from socio-economic inequalities, ethnicity, absence of opportunities for political participation, differences in religious inclinations, fragile government structures,[4] inadequate civic structures, differences in political ideologies, and competition over scarce resources (Klingebiel, 2002).

But to the contrary, the controversy involving the two Sudans can be treated as disputes over continued existence and societal identity (Mitchell, p.43, Collins 2010: 210). Considering this reality, the Southern part that feels threatened took military option (use of force) to defend their societal identity. The underlying assumption is that; not all conflicts centre around resource scarcity as Hirsch (1977) argues. However, exclusive use or ownership of resources (goals of obtaining land, raw materials, water supplies, access routes, houses, and jobs) are qualifications for the conflict to intensify.

In conclusion therefore, the socio-economic inequality based on cultures, ethnic or a religious identity (horizontal inequalities) remains a motivation to justified violence conflict in Sudan with strong sense of collective injustice directed toward the deprived, the socio-economic group mobilise and hence fuel conflict situation. Understandably, it is not only the deprived that instigate violence, but also those in power fear losing their status-quo and the associated benefits.

Conflict and development

The term “development” cuts across different levels. It refers to macro issues (such as the patterns of a nation’s growth), as much as it refers to meso problems (such as river-basin plans) or to micro problems (such as local community development). All three levels are interwoven. And at all levels, many different dimensions-economic, cultural, religious and gender-affect and are affected by development. In theory therefore, development should be understood as a process, not a product. As such, communities are living in a changing environment. With some failing and others succeeding.

As already highlighted on the socio-economic and political causes of conflict, another important aspect is that, conflict and development are two indispensable ideas that no human kind or any functioning institutions can neither evade nor escape (Rizal & Yokota; 2006:11). It is thus understandable from human experience that changes are inevitable and as such; development and social conflicts are reality to reckon (growth of science and technology and the application of weaponry). The competition for few existing resources together with population pressure however, forced individuals to rivals in order to assert control over those resources. Hence the authors of development and conflict agree that development breeds violent conflict putting the existing bonds at stake as new opportunities opens, making development painful and promising. First and foremost, development does not cause or contribute to conflict situation, but the perception and application of the concept by the actors is a problem in itself. Hence, the two concepts become a challenge where resistance to change and growing horizontal inequalities become visible. Rizal and Yokota (2006:32) questioned the validity of this argument by pointing to the fact that, if political, economic and socio-cultural dimensions of development improve, will there be a relative decline in the degree of violence conflict. The answer could be yes/no on the ground that; social conflicts are parts of human society and no society can do without societal feuds.

In summary, the links between development and conflict theory stress the provision of aid in cases of violent conflict. Under this conception therefore, development assistance become critical where physical and social landscape has been damaged. Affirming this disconnection, something of a vicious cycle is create in which development leads to conflict, and the lack of conflict resolution practices interferes with further development.

Furthermore, although African states have broken the yoke of colonisation, the continent is riddled with yoke of intractable conflicts involving border conflicts, ethno-politics, politic of patronage and bad governance characterised by corruption, economic and intrastate conflict. Research has shown that, since 1970, more than thirty wars have taken place in Africa. The price of these wars has been death and displacement of millions of people (Laremont 2002). The continuation of these cross-cutting problems had created impasses in terms of socio-economic development. To illustrate this point further, during a High-Level Plenary Meeting of UN General Assembly of September 2005, the Plenary acknowledged that “nations and peoples will not enjoy development without security, nor will they enjoy security without development, and that they will not enjoy either without respect for human rights”.[5]  This statement confirmed that development only thrives in conflict free environment. Equally important, it was also acknowledged that, ‘development and security’ are inextricably linked. In sense that; more secure world is only possible if poor countries are given chance to develop (UN Secretary General Kofi Annan cited in United Nations, 2004 vii). Building on the above, the more peoples and nations are given chance to develop, the likelihood of the conflict to degenerate and this point to the fact that, development is only possible in free conflict-zone with reverence to human rights, rule of law and equitable distribution of resources.


Root causes of conflicts in the Horn of Africa:

Root causes of violence conflicts in Africa varies in both degree and nature of destruction inflicted on the civil population. And in much as the violence conflicts in Africa are concerned, most of which can be traced to history and consequences of colonial legacies adding together the effects of Cold War (Apollos, 2010). In his arguments, Berouk cites colonial legacy as being the root causes of conflicts in the Horn of Africa. He pointed at the European colonial powers that partitioned the previously free constituent parts of the Horn of Africa, joining unrelated areas and peoples into territorial units and as consequence, establishing new states see (Herbst, 2000:233). The notable examples of mismatching independent borders gave birth to inter-state and intra-state conflicts as the regimes of the newly independent states start lodging territorial claims, which, in turn created a fertile grounds for interstate conflicts. To substantiate Berouk’s point explicitly, Clapham cited division of Somalia people of Horn Africa previously united with a common culture, history and identity were divided into five different states by colonial powers (Clapham 1990, 1998a).

Leading scholars in the field of conflict management in fragmented societies agree that; conflicts in African continent stemmed mainly from the failure of African leaders to enact democratic principles (2008:89). Defending this argument, Hartmann mentioned that; one of the central questions of post-conflict societies is absent of political liberty. Hartmann recommended; if African governments were to become replaceable via ballot box or amendable to change by peaceful means, there should be corresponding decline in the choice to armed struggle. Hartmann suggests the establishment of some basic democratic dispensation as key to ending protracted civil wars. Without a doubt however, the point of establishing pluralistic democracy that caters for societal needs at both levels of governments (local and central government) may becomes the best model for managing and resolving conflicts in the Greater Horn of Africa.

Documented empirical research on democratisation acknowledged the role of democratic institutions in shaping the political outcomes. Much of this literature is based on the assumption that democratic governance and the conscious design of political institutions are key factors affecting the likelihood of democratic consolidation (p.90), political stability and the sustainable settlement of violent conflicts (Sartori 1994; Harris and Reilly 1998; Bunce 2000; Reynolds 2001). These authors looked at institutional reforms as key to improving democratic performance in African states. Institutional reformists agree that deeply divided societies can best be governed if they exhibit a number of basic institutional features at macro-political level. The argument put forward is that, divided societies are more likely to be stable if power is dispersed in a parliamentary rather than presidentialist system. According to this commentator, parliamentary democracies promote multi-party systems and encourage the formation of coalition governments. Second, relative representation electoral systems tend to be more consensual, as they try to limit, divide, and share power. Imperative in this system is, they avoid winner-take all results and promise that most groups will not be denied the opportunity to participate in the government. The third argument according to this scholar is; divided societies are more likely to be stable and conflict free if power is decentralised to the sub-national level (Harris and Reilly 1998; Lijphart 1999).

As already stated, conflict arise over the competition of scarce resources, Alier in his book entitled “Too Many Agreements Dishonoured” chapter 13: pointed to the discovery of oil in Southern Sudan (1978) as the main cause of civil unrest as Northern based regimes became suspicious of separatist trends. This was affirmed by the Khartoum attempts to transfer the rich oil field, agricultural and grazing lands of Upper Nile and Bhar El Ghazal to Northern provinces by merely redrawing the map (Alier, p.258).Therefore, the motivation for South-North conflict perhaps lies in question of scarcity and values which place a premium on the possession of scare resources or positions (Mitchell, p.18).

Although the discovery of Southern Oil and other mineral reserves play a key role in Sudanese conflicts, Collins point to “divide and rule policy” by successive regimes in Khartoum in his book entitled “A History of Modern Sudan” Chapter 5: where he looked at the rise and fall of the Southern Regional Government as the underlying cause of the South-North conflict. The division of Southern Sudan into separate three Regions of Bhar El Ghazal, Equatoria, and Upper Nile by Nimeiri’s Government according to analyst, was the cause of conflict in the South as Southerners became divided in building a common agenda (political structure) to oppose the master of calculation (2008, p.133-144).

The impact of these divisions, according to Collins, blesses the South with a number of issues: (a) Southern Sudanese were deeply divided on tribal lines and could not make a choice of the electorates and (b) it precipitated an open conflict with Dinka and Equatorians who returned to South Sudan after the collapse of Idi Amin regime (p.136), and finally, (c) the political impact of this was the 1983 mutiny in Bor garrison and the beginning of second Southern insurgency and civil war. It can however be concluded that, Southern division cultivated natural hatred and feeling of animosity based on false ethnicities, a legacy which has lived on to present day.

In as much as decentralisation can be best tools for managing and resolving conflict in Hartmann experience of three countries of South Africa, Namibia and Mauritius, the situation can be different with other states as seen in the case of South Sudan. Decentralisation to a large extends breeds internal conflicts in discrete communities where there is lack of national cohesion. However, understanding the drive toward the current crisis in Jonglei state of South Sudan may provide us with how best those intertribal conflicts can be managed.

Herewith, the establishment of new states by colonial powers without ethnic, cultural, historical and religious’ natural lines as root causes of conflict in the Horn of Africa. John Darby acknowledged this complex settlement patterns and mismatch between state borders and the distribution of peoples, ethnic homogeneity, on past evidence, is almost always unattainable (Darby 1998:2).

Positive and Negative Aspects of Conflict

Through conflict, countries around the world have had relative peace today. Notable are the Russian Revolution of 1917, the French Revolution of 1789, and the American war of independence, 1775-8 has brought liberty to their citizens. Conflicts can be appreciated in the sense that; they create new relationships, coalitions and cooperation that may bring development to areas that have subsequently suffered from conflict related syndromes.

Conflicts also create and modify rules, norms, laws and new institutions for the betterment of mankind. The current international Public Laws came into being as a consequence of the atrocities experienced during the two world wars. The births of the United Nations that replaced the League of Nations in 1945, and Geneva Conventions were also the result of these wars. Though conflicts are inherently bad as viewed, it’s through them that the current world has been established.

Constructive Aspects of Conflicts: constructive conflict refers to conflicts in which the benefits exceed the costs; it generates productive, mutually beneficial, shared decisions. In constructive conflicts, the process becomes as important as the end result. Individuals come together to redefine or strengthen their relationships for the greater good of the parties involved. A destructive conflict on the other hand flows from narrowly defined or rigid goals, and most often produces negative results. Individuals involved become less flexible and assume that the opposing party must suffer defeat. Involved parties succumb to personal attacks, threats and general tone of hostility.

  • Better ideas are produced
  • People are forced to look at new approaches
  • Long standing problems surface and can be dealt with
  • People are forced to clarify their views
  • Tension stimulates interest and creativity
  • People have a chance to test their capability
  • Opens up issues of importance, resulting in their clarification
  • Increases the involvement of individuals in issue of importance to them
  • Serves as a release to pent-up emotion, anxiety, and stress
  • Helps build cohesiveness among people by sharing the conflict, celebrating in its settlement, and learning more about each other


Herewith, when conflict comes to public domain, there is a possibility of a country losing her image both from within and abroad. And as such, the level of service delivery will drastically deteriorate making conflict destructive.

Destructive aspects of conflicts:

  • Defeat or demean people
  • Creates distance between people
  • Climate of distrust and suspicion develops
  • People or departments defend their narrow interests
  • Resistance (active or passive) develops where teamwork is needed
  • Causes turnover
  • Diverts energy from more important activities and issues
  • Destroys the morale of people or reinforces poor self-concepts
  • Polarizes groups so they increase internal cohesiveness and reduces inter-groups cooperation
  • Deepens differences in values[6]

The conflicts between Dinka, Nuer and Murle are not a new development and have existed for centuries. These tribes have raided one another for cattle for centuries, but often made peace with one another, and in fact supported each other communally and inter-married for centuries. Nevertheless, the political divide of 1991 during liberation struggle (Dr. Garang and Dr. Riek) over the SPLM leadership are still sharp and fresh in the minds of many people, hence aggravating the existing relationship between the two communities. The division within the movement led to the massacres of 2000 thousand Dinka Bor by Dr. Machar’s loyalists (Amnesty International, 1992).

In addition to destruction of properties, there is breakdown in the rule of law and significantly, there is also considerable reduction in private and public investment. These include houses, land, labour, utensils, cattle, livestock and other productive assets. The very poor are likely to be the worst affected. For instance, Verpoorten (2003) reports that the 12 per cent of households lost their house during the 1994 Rwandan genocide while cattle stock on average decreased by 50 per cent.[7] The damage of properties by armed conflict, in addition to unbalanced economic, social and political environments, will impact significantly on the ability of affected households to recover their economic and social position in post-conflict settings.[8] There is measure agreement from conflict scholars; that protracted conflicts tends to be associated with patterns of underdevelopment and absolute levels of economic underdevelopment (Jongman and Schmid. 1997; Stewart and Fitzgerald, 2001; Collier et al., 2003). Herewith, the deteriorating security situation in Jonglei state not only has it led to lose of lives and properties. But have significantly disrupted the socio-economic development in the state with youth who are the engine of economic growth redirect their energies to military activity leaving private sector unattended.

Seen from literature review above, the researcher have come to identify that most historians from Sudan narrowed their judgment to the root causes of conflict in Sudan Conflicts and South Sudan have discussed at length the socio-economic and political causes of conflict but have failed to look at the key catalysts that contribute to inter-tribal conflicts among the South Sudanese community as it is being experienced in Jonglei State. It is therefore the interest of the researcher to investigate at depth the key catalysts that contribute to the deterioration of security situation in Jonglei state of South Sudan.

Theoretical Frameworks

This section discusses theories related to conflict using conceptual, rationale and social theories.

Conceptual framework

In International Relations, there are two theoretical frameworks. One of these theorists is the realists’ also known as ‘Political Realism’ and for them they belief in ‘power based politic’. Their justification is, the world is harsh and dangerous place and the only certainty is competition based on power politics. According to political realists, the powerful state will always be able to outdo-and outlast-weaker competitors. In understanding therefore, military power was the only solution to state interest preservation. The staunch supporter of this theory is the notorious Niccolo Machiavelli. In his book The Prince (1513), he advised rulers to use deceive and violence as tools against other states. But for the idealists, they consented with realists on the understanding that the world is harsh and dangerous and argue that the consequences of using or relying on military power often outweighs the benefits. And for them; cooperation based or interest based agreement (during World War II) is therefore in the interest of every state. In agreement with the idealist theory, the Social Interdependence theory stated that interaction with other people is essential element for human survival. This can only happened through cooperation (Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1998).


Rationale-emotive theory

There are many explanations for the causes of ethnic conflict; they range from rational to non-rational.

Albert Ellis (1960) teaches that many people have problems because of their irrational beliefs system such as rushing to early marriages to escape economic challenges and inferiority complex that their interpretation of their life events. Traditional thinking is a person’s personal enemy in relation to development thus, resulting to raiding or looting as the person tries to survive or raise a family including desire to pay fully the pending dowry. According to this theory, majority of the people fail in their efforts because they have been brought up with the belief that they can do very little in developing themselves. The theory aims at helping people develop confidence and have knowledge despite their personal weaknesses, traditional or cultural beliefs.  In addition, there are also many types of rationality. This argument is supported throughout with examples from Yugoslavia and Rwanda, to show that the theories used can be generalized across cultures.

Social theory

The Republic of South Sudan is characterized by numerous cultural and societal ethics that can build or destroy its social bond among its people particularly the peoples of Jonglei state.

Over years, communities have been involved tremendously into tribal clashes for social prestige and individual social acceptance in the society he/she comes from. For example, among the Murle tribe, a man becomes a hero after raiding and killing men in raids. They give marks to showcase the number of men he has killed so far.


A cattle culture and economy is predominant participation among the Dinka, Nuer and Murle communities in south Sudan. In many communities, women are views as a household resource, commonly valued by the number of cows they would bring as dowries and as a tool for domestic chores and this has resulted to abduction of girl children. These social views and the economic realities that underpin them result in further barriers for security solution in Jonglei state.


Welton (Merrian & Caffarela, 1999) states that the aim of critical social theory is to help people stop being perceived victims who collude at least partially in their denominations by external forces. According to this view point critical social serves the purpose of liberating people from oppression.


In concept therefore, the social value attached to cattle makes it difficult for these (Dinka, Nuer and Murle) tribes to stop cattle rustling since one tribe wishes to own the wealth and gains himself social respect from other communities.



In summary, the literature review relayed above is equal or unique from this research topic ‘the key catalysts that contribute to deteriorating security situation in Jonglei state’ simply because the researchers of the above literature have less experience of the people of Jonglei state and their social, cultural and economic wellbeing. It is however important to acknowledge the fact that rationale theory plays into the situation being argued in this research and this contributes to tribal conflict as some rational tribes like Anyuak appear coward and become victims of the ruthless and irrational others.

In addition, it should also be emphasised that, whatever the challenges amongst the different tribes of Jonglei state, the drive for peace in all sections of these tribes is paramount and supersedes that of individual interest. Documented work has shown that, in post-conflict experiences in other parts of the world were overcome through trust and peaceful co-existence from the contending parties. In a conflict torn Jonglei state which has claimed hundreds of lives and properties, what is important is to put aside the past and focus on future by forgiving one another. Without those components (forgiveness, trust and reconciliation) though, realising a lasting peace in Jonglei will be a nightmare and the seeds of conflict will re-germinate again and change into a full-scale intra-state conflict.

Chapter Three: Research Methodology

Research Design

The study employed ex-post facto research design. The design involves a systematic empirical investigation in which the researcher does not directly control the independent variables because they have occurred or caused an influence (Kerlinger, 1973). In summary, there was no manipulation of variables. The investigation of what had happened was done and all key catalysts that contribute to the deterioration of security situation in Jonglei State were well examined.

In this qualitative research all primary and secondary sources

A pie chart showing the parties involved in the Jonglei Conflict

A pie chart showing the parties involved in the Jonglei Conflict

of information will be used to generate relevant information in the course of conducting the research proposal. For better understanding, primary research will involve data acquired through first-hand investigation, for instance; administering questionnaires, conducting experiments, and other observational methods to generate evidence. Secondary on the other hand, takes into consideration sources such as; books, popular websites on security and conflict related issues, journals, and periodicals written on that particular topic under study.

Data sources is a concept which is more similar to data collection in the sense that: according to social science research, data collection involves a wide range of methods, including observation, participant observation, intensive interviews, large-scale sample surveys, history recorded from secondary sources randomised experiments, ethnography, content analysis and any other method of collecting reliable evidence (King, Keohane, and Verba, 1994:51).

Population of the study

The targeted population are the youths, elders and intellectuals from Jonglei State with educational status from Primary, secondary schools, undergraduates, graduates, postgraduates and PhD holders. In the study, the researcher used close-ended and open-ended questionnaires. The population involved in the study was thirty eight (38) of which one was female respondent while thirty seven (37) were male respondents). Thus, the total number of those involved in the study was 38.


Given the sheer size of area under study, this research work shall take a sample size of each population that will be subject to study. In this, sampling design shall be applied to all areas under investigation without discrimination which means all members of the population under study will be included as random selection shall be the pertinent model. According to Social Research Methods, sampling is an important procedure in social survey research and it is possible to make inferences from information about a random sample to the population from which it was selected. In other words, we can generalise findings derived from a sample to the population (Bryman, 2008:177) with knowledge that, the sample selected are experts or knowledgeable on the topic of interest to the researcher. During the process, sample sizes are not determined beforehand, but when the data reaches saturation point. However, for the case of this research, the targeted population size of each community to be represented will be 3 or 4 for every county.


Location of the study

The research was carried out in Jonglei state, Bor County which is the state capital. For easy understanding (Administratively), Jonglei State is one of the largest states in the country. The state comprises of 11 counties. That is to say; Twic East County, Duk County, Bor County, Akobo County, Nyirol County, Uror County, Pibor County, Pochalla County, Ayod County, Pigi County, and Fangak County. The state is a home to diverse ethnicities, and includes among them; the Murle, Dinka, Nuer, Anyauk, Jie, and Kachipo at the border of Ethiopia in East of Mountain Boma. The state is well-known for its wealth among states of South Sudan (fauna and oil). Adding to the natural resource abundance, the state is predominantly agro-pastoralists. Despite the size and its diverse cultures, Jonglei state has one of poorest infrastructures in the region, making it difficult for state authorities to operate.


Geographically, the state borders the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in the East. Internally, the state borders other states of South Sudan; specifically: Eastern Equatoria State to South East, Central Equatoria to the South, Lakes State to South West, Unity State to the West, and Upper Nile to North. Being at the centre of the truncated internal conflicts and the second Sudanese civil war which lasted through a negotiated peace deal (CPA) 2005, Jonglei state had been the centre of politics dating back to the failed Project of Jonglei Canal and the mutinies already mentioned in the first paragraph. All these series of events have largely contributed to daunting security situation in most of Southern States, of which Jonglei is no exception.

The area was appropriate for the study because it is the capital of the state with all communities represented from across the eleven counties. Most affected as a result of inter-tribal conflict are also present in Bor town.


Sampling procedure and sample size

According to Borg and Gall (2003), a sample of 100 respondents is adequate for descriptive survey. Therefore, the researcher used a sample size of 38 respondents in the study which is quite appropriate for the determination of good results. The researcher selected a sample size of 38 of which one respondent was female while the rest were male respondents. The questionnaires were administered randomly with all the details spelt out in the question paper as indicated table one. The researcher intention was to administer all questionnaires to all community representatives. But due to insecurity cited in table one below, representatives of Jonglei communities could not be access.



To get the required data and information, the researcher used two questionnaires. The questionnaires were designed with both open-ended and closed-ended items. Each questionnaire was divided into two sections for the respondents. Part One captured the Bio-data (personal details) of the respondents and their respective counties which were relevant. Part Two addressed the causes of insecurity in Jonglei state of South Sudan. Part Three addressed the key catalysts that contribute to the deterioration of security situation in Jonglei state.


The questionnaires were designed for both respondents without discrimination with the prime objective of understanding the key catalysts that contribute to the deterioration of security situation in Jonglei state; ‘‘case study of Jonglei state-Bor.’’


To ensure that the instrument was valid, the researcher through critical analysis of the objectives of the study developed suitable items. Later, these instruments were taken to the supervisor and research experts at Cranfield University to assist in improving the content validity as suggested by Borg (1987). In the course of instrumentation, redundant items were phased out and the logical ones retained. According to Mugenda and Mugenda (1999), reliability is the degree to which a research instruments yield consistent results after repeated trials.


To ensure reliability of the research instruments, pre-testing was done in Bor County the state capital of Jonglei state. The choice of Bor County was due to the fact that its hosts all inhabitants (tribes) of Jonglei state. The number of respondents chosen for pre-testing was taken because it is the smallest number and could yield meaningful results as hypothesized (Kathuri and Pals 1993).


Data collection procedures

The researcher sought permission from Cranfield University, United Kingdom London and the Jonglei state authorities approved to carry out the study. After being granted the permission, the researcher had to make introductory visit in order to acquaint himself with the targeted respondents on how the questionnaires are to be answered and finally, the researcher administered the questionnaires after discussion. Respondents were given their questionnaires which were later collected by the collected by the researcher. The researcher assisted those could not understand some technical questions relating to security for example where the language used was not clear due to their educational levels and some who had Arabic background. This was done as the data collection progressed.

Data Analysis

The data obtained from the study was organised, coded and analyzed. The researcher used Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 11.5 to aid in data analysis. Descriptive statistics involving frequencies and percentages were used to analyze the data. Each of the following objectives data was presented using frequencies and percentages.

  • To examine whether if the major causes of the current intertribal conflicts are purely tribal in nature as branded by South Sudan government and other media outlets or resource base conflicts, since most of them relates to cattle raiding and child abduction in Jonglei state of South Sudan and how do these contribute to the growing insecurity.
  • To critically analyze the driving factors that contributes toward the intertribal conflicts in Jonglei state of South Sudan.
  • To explore community’s response toward the intertribal fights in Jonglei state and what are the differences in the community perceptions versus state interpretations of the current deteriorating security situation in Jonglei and how do these trends shape the security concept as part of South Sudan’s state-building effort.
  • To assess government’s attitude toward the current trends in Jonglei state of South Sudan.
  • To determine whether there is any states’ plan towards the continuing intertribal conflicts and what means do the state government have for improving the living conditions of the affected communities in Jonglei conflict.




Chapter Four: Presentation and Discussion of the Findings



Inter-tribal conflict involving armed race is a common phenomenon amongst South Sudanese communities. This situation is aggravated by lack of standing legal framework for solving inter-tribal feuds in the country. It should be comprehensively understood that people who are in countries where negotiations and non-violence methods are used still resort to inter-communal feuds if they feel socially neglected by a given community.   This chapter focuses on the findings and discussion on the socio-economic, socio-cultural and the key drivers/catalysts that contribute to the deterioration of security situation in Jonglei state of South Sudan. Three objectives and three research questions were formulated for the investigation. The data collected from the respondents was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 11.5 for windows. Data analysis was guided by the following research questions.


  1. What are the socio-economic/socio-cultural causes of insecurity in Jonglei State?
  2. What is the community response toward the development and;
  3. What is the government attitude toward the deteriorating security situation in Jonglei State?


The findings are presented in the following sections:-

  1. Description of demographic characteristics of respondents of the study
  2. The community perception on the key catalysts that contribute or causes of insecurity in Jonglei state of South Sudan
  3. The response of the respondents on the drivers of inter-tribal conflict in Jonglei State of South Sudan.
  4. Community’s response toward the deteriorating security situation in Jonglei State of South Sudan.
  5. The community’s perception on these trying differences of inter-tribal conflict in Jonglei State.
  6. Seasons where these inter-tribal clashes become rampant.
  7. Tribes which are mainly involved in this inter-tribal clashes/raiding in Jonglei State.
  8. The length of inter-tribal conflict in Jonglei State.
  9. The players behind inter-tribal conflict in Jonglei State.
  10. The community’s views on the general deteriorating security situation in Jonglei state of South Sudan.
  11. Community response on the parties involved in Jonglei State
  12. Government attitude toward security situation in Jonglei State
  13. Community’s perception on other factors such as George Athor and David Yau Yau who wage war against government following election defeat.


Data Presentation



Table 1: Demographic description

Age Bracket % Gender % County % Religion % Educational Background percentage%
15-25  (2) 5.3% Female 2.6% Pachalla(1) 2.6% Islam 0% Degree (17) 44.7%
25-35(12) 31.% Male 97.% Pibor(1) 2.6% Christian 10% Diploma (8) 21.1%
35-45 (13) 34.% Akobo(1) 2.6% Secondary(3) 7.9%
45-55  (7) 18.% Bor(25) 65.8% Undergraduate(2) 5.3%
55 Above 13.% Tw. East (6) 15.8% Post Graduate  (2) 5.3%
  Duk(1) 2.6% Masters(2) 5.3%
  Ayod- 0.0% Phd(-) 0.0%
  Pagak(1) 2.6% Primary(1) 2.6%
  Nyiror- 0.0 %
  Wuror- 0.06%
  Piji(1) 2.6 %


The table 1 above, shows that majority 97% of the respondents are males which signifies that conflict on tribal basis in Jonglei is much perpetuated by men other than their female counterparts which scores only two point six percent (2.6%) of the respondents.

In terms of age, most respondents are aged 25-35 (31.6%) and 35-45 years old (34.2%). Meanwhile, some respondents aged 45-55 (18.4%) and 55-above (13.2%) contributed in the research.

Analytically, age bracket shows that most elderly respondents 13.2% are fewer compare to the youthful age (35-45) which scores 34.2%. The researcher noticed the age variation factors and related them to;

  1. Illiteracy level; most elderly people were not interviewed by the researcher because they could not read or write.
  2. Location of the data collection; the elderly are located in the remotest villages of Jonglei state and could not be access for interview.
  3. Insecurity, most respondents are believed to have sought refuge in displaced camps within or outside Jonglei state, hence making it hard for the researcher to access them.

Similarly, educational background varies sharply. Most respondents 44.7% are bachelor degree holders while 21.1% are diploma holders. Secondary school certificates score 7.9% of the respondents.  Undergraduates scores 5.3%, Postgraduate 5.3% and Master Degree 5.3%. None of the respondents holds PhD only 2.6% has primary certificate.


The above educational observations highlight the fact that this research project is highly informative given the highest percentage 44.7% of fresh graduates (Degree holders) and 5.3% for both Postgraduates and Masters Degree including 5.3% undergraduate. In this context therefore, it should be understood that high levels of illiteracy contribute to the deterioration of security in the Jonglei state of South Sudan as noticed from respondents’ percentage. The information gathered here is educative and should be used for academic purposes and policies making as the respondents are academicians and not tribal representatives or politicians.


Finally, as seen above, and given the fact that the research was carried out in the state capital Bor, the researcher pays less attention to county variation simply because this research is aimed at investigating the key catalysts of ethnic conflict in Jonglei state and not tribal mindset on conflict or conflict related-issues.

As such, some counties like Wuror, Nyiror and Ayod score 0.0% of respondents because this research was conducted during the aftermath of 15th December 2013 where Dinka and Nuer fought along tribal lines based on the alleged coup D’état.[9] The researcher could not reach the above counties for interviews due to the widespread insecurity.




Table 2: Causes of insecurity in Jonglei state

Causes Reason Number of respondents Percentage
Resource like cattle Cattle 22 57.9%
Child abduction Illiteracy 8 21.1%
Poll disputes Tribalism 11 28.9%
Pastures land Poverty 10 26.3%
Tribalism Health/child abduction. 12 31.6%
Illiteracy Political 19 50%


In the above table 2, the majority of respondents strongly argued that cattle (57.9%) are the core cause of insecurity in Jonglei state. Fifty percent (50%) believed that it is political ideology that leads to the security deterioration in Jonglei state.


Thirty one point six percent (31.6%) said health problem leading to childless among (Murle) tribe push them to child abduction leading to conflict and insecurity in the state.

Twenty eight percent (28.9) respondents agreed that tribalism is the cause of conflict and insecurity in Jonglei state. Poverty scoring 26.3% and illiteracy 21.1% were seen by the researcher to be other causes of conflict and insecurity in Jonglei state.

Besides, the above mentioned factors are major causes of conflict in Jonglei state based on the respondents’ responses. These include;


Some respondents believed that cattle are the push (key drivers) factors in the acceleration of inter-tribal conflict in Jonglei state. In addition, there was a corresponding agreement from some respondents that the ethno-politic of Jonglei state politicians is a key driver into the conflict situation and insecurity in Jonglei state.

Nevertheless, other respondents argue that, health related issues among certain tribes of Jonglei are another key driver or push factor into conflict situation and insecurity in Jonglei state. Their argument is that those who believed to be having health problems tend to go and abduct children from their neighbouring counties with the motive of making heirs for themselves before they die.


In summary therefore, cattle, child abduction and politics were projected by the respondents during the data collection as push factors in the continuation of inter-tribal conflict and the deterioration of security situation in the state.

Table 3: Drivers of Intertribal Conflict

Drivers Number of Respondents Percentage (%)
Cattle value 19 50.0
Child abduction/Population 11 28.9
Politics 17 44.7
Ignorance 11 28.9


This table 3 examines the push and pull factors (drivers) of inter-tribal conflict as seen above, there are those elements named as drivers that ignite the conflict and these drivers are; value attached to cattle (50%), politics (44.7%) and desire to have many people (heirs) leading to child abduction by childless person scoring 28.9% and finally ignorance.


Cattle, being the greatest driver of conflict are traditionally and economically valued by all the tribes of Jonglei, and as such becomes the nucleus for conflict. Even child abduction is connected to cattle since abducted children by Murle could be used when they grow of age to raid cattle from the neighbouring community/communities or become the heir to the cattle wealth of the childless owner when he dies.


Secondly, politics becomes another strong driver of conflict suggested above. Many respondents (44.7%) believe that political misunderstanding at national or state level could spark up the tribal conflict. The recent Murle uprising came in force as David YauYau seeks political representation thus; lure his tribesmen into fighting Dinka and Nuer.


More so, foreign policies divide the state into tribal groups and some tribes are identified as enemies of other tribes in order to have the state destabilized and unstable for political and social growth and development. For instance, the case of 1991 when Nuer armed militias under the command of Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhorgol attacked Bor community.


Table 4: Community response to insecurity in Jonglei

Main response on security Number Respondents Percentage (%)
Peace initiative 18 47.4
Societal literacy 4 10.5
Construction of infrastructure 3 7.9
No. Solution 12 31.6
Rule of Law 12 31.6
Disarmament 19 50.0


The table 4 above investigates how the community is responding to the insecurity in Jonglei. A number of respondents 47.4% said there are community based peace initiatives being carried out involving rivalling tribes’ elders and chiefs. The largest group of respondents 50% wish a uniform disarmament of all the communities in Jonglei state to reduce the insecurity.


Others 31.6% respondents blame the government for not exercising the rule of law or enforcing rule of law so as to prosecute any criminal caught in the act. Equal number of respondents 31.6% are over saddened by the occurrence of tribal conflict over years and they think there could possibly no solution to the insecurity and that communities are hopeless such they have zero response.


Whereas, other group of respondents 10.5%; suggested provision of educational facilities to the communities of Jonglei state to give its people access to modern education. They think the cause of insecurity is largely caused by illiteracy which leads to high levels of ignorance and lack of ability to engage meaningfully in social and political interactions.


Finally, some respondents 7.9% suggested construction of infrastructure such as roads (to connected rural areas to urban areas), schools, and hospital in order to reduce insecurity in the state.


Table 5: Trying differences of tribal conflict

Trying differences Number of Respondents Percentage (%)
Land dispute 3 7.9
Cultural practice 10 26.3
Water 5 13.2
Resource/Cattle 16 42.1
All the above 17 44.7


The table 5 above shows the trying differences that bring about tribal conflict among the tribes that make up Jonglei state.

As seen above, majority of respondents 44.7% identified all the above (land dispute, cultural practice, water source and cattle being the resource) as the core causes of conflict among the tribes in Jonglei.


42.1% of respondents suggest that resource (cattle) is the major cause of tribal conflict in state since every tribe in Jonglei except Anyuak needs the cattle of the other tribe through force to add unto her own herd of cattle. This creates retaliatory attacks between tribes throughout the state for centuries now and is seen to last for life as long as cattle exist.


Some respondents (26.3%) blamed bad cultural practices such superiority attached to cattle raiders for instance among the Murle tribe of Jonglei and the marks tattooed on cattle raiders leads to numerous inter-tribal wars/conflict. Because of social marginalization of these groups, others have opted for cattle rustling activities in Jonglei. Other factors like land disputes 7.9% (seen between Nuer and Dinka) and water sources 13.2% during dry seasons are seen as major issues causing tribal conflict.

Table 6: Seasons where inter-tribal clashes become rampant

Season Number of respondents Percentage (%)
During dry season 6 15.8
During rainy season 3 7.8
All of the above 29 76.3


The table 6 above shows the time/season where inter-tribal conflicts are rampant. During both rainy and dry seasons according to 76.3% respondents there are always serious inter-tribal clashes in Jonglei state.


A good number of respondents (15.8%) agreed that dry season is most risky as the raiders easily penetrate the villages and raid cattle without fear of swampy areas. Other groups of respondents 7.8% argued that it is during rainy that clashes are rampant as the raiders cannot be followed easily due to flood in the land. Again, the raiders prefer rainy to dry season simply because of abundant water for drinking as they run with raided cattle.

Table 7: Tribes mainly involved.

Names of tribe Number of Respondents Percentage (%)
Dinka 13 34.2
Nuer 19 50.0
Murle 25 65.8
Anyuak 0 0.0
All of the above 13 34.2


The above table 7 indicates the main tribes who are the players of tribal conflict in Jonglei state and the most notorious ones. As seen above, 34.2% points at Dinka as the tribe manly involved. The other 34.2% said all the tribes including Anyuak, Nuer, Murle and Dinka are all involved in the tribal conflict in Jonglei state.


Most respondents (50%) strongly levelled Nuer as the major tribe in the tribal conflict in Jonglei state.

The largest number of 65.8% of respondents cited Murle as the most notorious tribe in carrying out the tribal conflict in the state.


None of the respondents cited Anyuak tribe as being the part or partial of tribal conflict in Jonglei state.

Figure 1: A pie Chart showing the length tribal conflict in Jonglei state


In the above Figure 1, most respondents 60.5% said tribal conflict has existed since 1956 which is the year of independence of the Republic of Sudan. The main idea behind this is that most tribal conflict were created by Northern regime to keep Southern Sudan undeveloped and thus stayed less politically active. Other respondents 31.6% suggested that none of the mentioned period (such as since 1956, During War 1983, and After CPA 2005) could be identified as the exact year when tribal conflict started they however sought that the tribal conflict in Jonglei is dateless.


Same number of respondents 5.3% said the tribal conflict started during the war. This is true according to them simply because so many guns were in the hands of civilians who sought themselves as enemies thus, tribal conflict became unavoidable.


However, other respondents 2.6% said tribal conflict has not being until the signing of CPA in 2005 where Southern became divided on political representation and sharing of wealth as seen in the case of tribal uprising as in the case of David YauYau.

Figure 2: A pie Chart indicating the players behind tribal conflict in Jonglei state


The Figure 2 shows the key players behind the tribal conflict in Jonglei state since the beginning. In the above table, it is clear that Arabs and other colonialists created the present tribal conflict in Jonglei state as suggested by majority 60.5%.


In the above table, it’s clear that Arabs were the main players of tribal conflict in Jonglei state and 23.7% respondents believed that they (Arabs) did it to keep Southern regions disorganized and politically unstable thus, they enjoy the country resources peacefully.


Whereas the former colonialists from the west (the Britain) also played a great role in tribal conflict since the created borders and accelerated tribal conflicts in order to exploit the natural resources of the country without people unity against them. About 10.5% respondents believed and agreed that other colonial powers are behind Jonglei state tribal conflict.



Table 8: The community views on general deteriorating security situation of the State

Community’s view/comment Number of Respondents Percentage (%)
Very good 4 10.5
Good practice 1 2.6
Bad practice 28 73.7
No view (idea) 4 10.5


As presented in table 8 above, the deteriorating security situation in Jonglei state is sparking people’s responses in terms of how good or bad it is to the prosperity of the state both politically and socially. The researcher has examined that majority 73.7% believed it is a very bad practice and can cause societal ruin or damage. Other respondents 10.5% seem to be scared and have no rating or idea about what their communities are doing in combating tribal insecurity in the state.


The other group of respondents 10.5% think it is a very good practice for a reason best known to them. Other click of respondents 2.6% also rated it a good practice based on the cattle raiding and other gains obtained by the raiders should they succeed not caring basically about the life lost.












Figure 3: A pie Chart showing Parties involved in Jonglei Conflict


Figure 3 represents that Jonglei state inter-tribal conflict is being worsened by interest groups as suggested by 68.4% of respondents. This group comprises of external and internal forces who are deeply concerned by the goodwill and the outstanding political strength of the state hence want it disturbed through tribal wars and insecurity.


The former rival political and opponent of Jonglei state as cited by 31.6% respondents is none other than National Congress Party (NCP) based in the north. Their purpose was and continuous to be political instability for the people of South Sudan.


The prominent opposition part in the country Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLMDC) is being suspected of instigating tribal conflict in Jonglei state in order to have a change of blaming the ruling party (SPLM) for failing to control the country and therefore could possibly win people’s choice for a better and peaceful South Sudan as suggested by 26.3% of respondents.


Other respondents 13.2% strongly believed that it is not political or social force that carries out that current Jonglei state tribal conflict but they think it is cultural attitude the tribes have towards cattle and that sparks the Jonglei state conflict.

Figure 4: A pie Chart showing Government attitude toward security situation in Jonglei State


Figure 4 showing the attitude of government toward security situation in Jonglei state is not positive according 52.6% respondents since there are no measures being put in place to stop tribal conflict and cattle raiding.

Some respondents 26.3% believed that the government of the state is working towards improving the security in the state.  Meanwhile, other respondents 21% are neutral about the attitude of government of Jonglei state towards the security situation. This is so because they do not know what the government is doing to improve the security and the time it will take to do so hence, it is difficult to tell the reaction of the state government so far.








Figure 5: A pie Chart indicating some groups like George Athor and David YauYau wage war on State Government


Figure 5 shows why some groups like George Athor and David YauYau started war against the government for some reason and most 76.3% respondents think it is because of power greed that they fought against the state government. Some respondents 31.6% are of the opinion that these groups fought against the state government for vested interests best known to them or their close allies.

2.6% respondents felt that it was because some tribes are marginalized and must fight for their freedom that leads to state wars as seen in the cases of George Athor and David YauYau when the two wage war against Jonglei state following 2010 gubernatorial and parliamentary election defeat.


In the nutshell, it is often said that ‘there is no smoke without fire’. Undeniably, the data presented above showed that intertribal violent conflicts in Jonglei state of South Sudan have its root from within and outside. Nevertheless, unity of Jonglei state’s communities remains fundamental as suggested by vast majority of respondents in bringing lasting peace in the ravage state of Jonglei otherwise, the state will continued to be plague by the intermittent intertribal violent conflicts.


Chapter Five: Summary, Conclusion and recommendations

Conflict is a shared activity that is and has been there throughout human history. For Social Scientist like David Weeks, ‘conflict is an inevitable outcome of human diversity and a world without conflict in Weeks’ perspective is not desirable, because it would mean a world without diversity.’ From this understanding though, it is these diverse in ethnic, religious and socio-cultural terms that constitute multiethnic nature of Africa as a continent.

It is clear from the literature review that conflicts in the Horn of Africa and Africa have a multiple causes and many of these causes are connected to socio-cultural, economic and political ones. Conversant with this, conclusions will be drawn from research findings of the study as discussed below.


Intertribal conflicts in Jonglei state is not a result of diverse ethnic groups sharing the same geographic area. However, study showed that socio-economic factors characterised by underdevelopment, illiteracy rate, inequitable distribution (structural imbalances) of natural resources in conjunction with ‘no or bad governance’ exacerbated intertribal conflicts in Jonglei state of South Sudan. Prevalence of bad governance and inequitable distribution of resources were cited by the respondents to be key drivers/catalysts into intertribal conflicts in Jonglei state. Therefore, a key lesson that can be drawn from this research project is working toward developing a sustainable peace program as an important aspect in conflict prevention and resolution.


According to Chapter Two 2.6 “the economic and political causes of conflict”, Klingebiel, 2002 states that most conflict derives from socio-economic inequalities, ethnicity, absence of opportunities for political participation differences in religious inclinations, fragile government structures, inadequate civic structures, differences in political ideologies and competition over scare resources.


This fact highlights the socio-economic sense attached to the intertribal conflict among the communities of Jonglei state. In this regards, cattle are the major cause of conflict attributing to the deterioration of security situation in the state.


Cattle are viewed as bride pride and are important for initiation ceremonies among Dinka, Nuer, and Murle. They are used for prestige based on the number of cattle one owns. In addition, it is noted that the tendency of having heirs is alluded to cattle wealth management and this has led to continuous child abduction by Murle tribe given the large herd of cattle they own compare to lesser population of men to keep individual wealth.


In regards to fragile government structures as stated by Klingebiel (2002), the researcher noticed that most respondents pointed out that the government is reluctant to quickly solve the insecurity situation in Jonglei state due to its political complexity as some respondents think there is an external political hand in the intertribal conflict in Jonglei state before 1956.


Chapter Two 2.4 states that “conflict scholars; distinguish resource-based conflicts (competition for economic power, access to natural resources), conflicts over governance and authority (based on competition for political power and participation in political course), ideological conflict (involving different values), and identity conflicts (based on competition between rival ethnicities, religious settings for instance Christianity in opposition to Islamic or other identity groups for both economic and political power and social justice” are cited in Nhema and Zeleza, 2008 (Rupesinghe; 1998).

Looking critically at the above, most conflicts revolve around power struggle, resource distribution and at minimal, the marginalization of majority and vice versa other than ideological perception of race and religion as documented (Deng, 1995 and Kruger, 2009:26).


Harmonized by religion (Christianity) the communities of Jonglei state as noted by the researcher are likely to be united by community leaders, Faith-based organisations, civil society groups, women and youth associations. These organisation or entities are seeking ways of resolving the intertribal conflict through peace and reconciliation initiatives, uniform disarmament of all communities and provision of legal safeguard (rule of law).


The researcher noted that the community leaders, faith-based organisations, civil society groups, women and youths are seeking ways of resolving the inter-tribal/communal conflict through peace and reconciliation initiatives, uniform disarmament of all the communities at the same time and above all, provision of legal safeguard (Rule of Law).



The current inter-tribal conflict based on resources/cattle in Jonglei state is a characteristic of primitive society as well as a challenge to nation building in the South Sudanese context. The unique part of these inter-tribal conflicts is that the inter-tribal conflicts are frequent and lots of lives and properties are lost in Jonglei state. Many attempts have been made by community leaders, church leaders, and civil society groups to end this historic inter-tribal violence conflicts but have all failed.


In theory, development should be understood as a process not a product. As such communities are living in a changing environment with failing and others succeeding.


As already highlighted on socio-economic and political causes of conflict, another important aspect is that: – conflict and development are two indispensable ideas that no human kind or any functioning institution can neither evade nor escape (Rizal & Yokota, 2006:11). This is true for the case of Jonglei state intertribal conflict. The current intertribal conflict is a characteristic of primitive society as well as a challenge to nation building.

The unique part of these intertribal conflicts is that they are frequent and lots of lives and properties are lost in Jonglei State.


It is thus understandable from human experience that changes are inevitable and as such development and social conflicts are reality to reckon (growth of science and technology and application of weaponry). The competition for few existing resources together with population pressure however, forced individuals to rivals in order to assert control over those resources.

Hence, the authors of development and conflict agree that development breeds violent-conflict putting the existing bonds at stake as new opportunities open, making development painful and promising.




Community Education on Conflict-related issues: This should be done through peace and reconciliation workshops and seminars for both youths and community leaders so as to discuss matters that lead to inter-communal conflict.


Establishment of Joint Border Monitor Commission (JBMC) by the state authorities: The main functions of this Commission would be to identify intruders/raiders and report to the state security organs for immediate investigation, to solve border-related issues that may develop into inter-communal disputes, to authenticate legal trespasses between through issuing of permit/buying permit. For instance, cattle dealers who buy large number of cattle would be distinguish from thieves. This Commission will also legalise and monitor the existing cattle brands and marks like cattle ear-lop.


Establishment of Traditional Justice System (TJS): In conjunction with the above(ear-lop brand), the traditional lawyers shall be mandated to investigate and fine anyone owning cattle/cow that bear another’s tribe established brand and has no legal document authenticated by the JBMC as elaborated above. In addition to establishment of Traditional Justice System, I recommend the establishment of Traditional Conflict Resolution Mechanism to oversee inter-communal conflict in Jonglei State. This Traditional Conflict Resolution Mechanism will be tasked with the investigation of those implicated in issues of inter-communal violence conflict.


Development of Infrastructural system: As cited in the literature review that structural imbalances often result into conflict situation, development of infrastructural system across state of Jonglei will enhance peaceful coexistence. In order to solved inter-tribal conflict and bring about lasting peace and permanent security in Jonglei state, it is vital to link Counties, Payams and Bomas to the state capital through modern tarmac roads and railways so as to solve the communication network problem. More so, hospitals, schools, and other social amenities should be put in place so as reduce dependency on cattle resources for medication, schools and economic reasons.


Peace and Reconciliation Mechanism: The researcher strongly recommends initiation of peace and reconciliation conferences among the rivalling communities of Jonglei state as it was once done by New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC) backed in 1999 ‘‘Wunlit Peace and Reconciliation Conference” that brought Dinka and Nuer representatives together with prime motive of sensitizing the two communities on the merits of peaceful co-existence (Bradbury et al., 2006). This mechanism however, will bring about healing, reconciliation and forgiveness among the communities as the actors shall be drawn from all the communities participating in the inter-communal conflict. This conference will publish Booklets on peace and reconciliation using pictorial and linguistically translated manuals for in all local languages.


Involvement of Civil Society Organisations, Faith-Based, youths and women groups in educating, sensitizing and creating peaceful atmosphere for dialogue that highlights effects of cattle raiding and child abduction on the development of the participating communities. A good example of this is “Bor Reconciliation and Healing Dialogue” which was spearheaded by local pastors, supported by the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) and hosted by United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). This was the first time since the outbreak of violent conflict in 2010 that a peace conference took place (Radio Tamazuj, 2014).


Accountability: The establishment of an independent Judicial System to hold culprits caught red-handed accountable for the commission of crimes. This also applies to clan leaders who may in one way or the other participate/instigate youth into revenge attack or staging fresh raids on their neighbouring communities.


Good Governance: Jonglei state authorities should support and incorporate principles of democratic system into the public sectors to create and stabilize legitimate and democratic government at state level. This will enhance process of confidence and trust building amongst state citizens. It will also serve as a baseline for peace-building in Jonglei state.


Uniform Disarmament: Given the availability of small arms and light weapons in the hands of state citizens, the Government of the Republic of South Sudan should have a comprehensive policy on uniform disarmament across Jonglei at same interval. This will help reduce the issues of intertribal conflicts in the state.


Media Freedom and Freedom of Information: Media independence and freedom of information are integral to an informed citizenry capable of participating in the peace-building process in post-conflict countries like South Sudan.

It is common understanding in South Sudan not Jonglei state that most citizens have limited or lack access to independent information that is available. Jonglei state authorities should support and encourage the development of professional media that will provide technical advice to citizens on the significance of nonviolent coexistence. In summary though, based on the above recommendations, Jonglei state authorities should demonstrate their ability on how to handle the intertribal conflicts at state level.


Suggestions for Further Research

Researcher(s) should further carry out their research on the following;

  • Traditional perspectives on cattle: this topic shall investigate the traditional or customary value attached to cattle in the Jonglei state of South Sudan highlighting timeframe (how long have people reared cattle), honour and pride is attached/related to cows and its material wealth
  • Tribal beliefs on cultural superiority and factors that influence inter-tribal conflict in the context of Jonglei state: here, the researcher ought to examine the tribal tendencies applauded to superiority and a sense of being honoured by others (tribes) due to winning battles or owning large herd of cattle.
  • Government’s involvement in tribal conflict creation and resolution: examines the political involvement in intertribal conflicts or a sense of political manoeuvring where politicians want to propagate seeds of hatred and thus lengthen tribal conflicts.
  • Illiteracy and its consequences in Jonglei state. The researcher should investigate the effects of illiteracy rate and how do this precipitate intertribal conflict in relation to cattle raiding in Jonglei state.



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[1] For detailed information on drivers of conflicts in Jonglei state, see by Judith McCallum and Alfred Okech.

[2] See

[3] Ibid Nhema & Zeleza: p.93.

[4] Fragile government structures in an economic sense, refers to a situation where the state has considerably failed to provide basic needs (education, health, clean drinking water, food, security and the list is endless) to its public. On the other hand however, political scientists look at fragile government as such government which failed to secure its citizens from impending threats.

[5] For more information, see International Peace Academy on Security and Development Policies: Untangling the Relationship by Ncela Tschirgi and can also visit UN website at


[7] See the Impact of Armed Civil Conflict on Household Welfare and Policy Response by: Patricia Justino;jsessionid=D8

[8] Rondineli, Dennis A. Development Administration and U.S. Foreign Aid Policy, Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, p.23. Htm contents of this page are taken from Judy’s counseling notebook: original author not known.

[9] On 15th December 2013, at the meeting of the National Liberation Council in Juba (Nyakuron Cultural Centre) opposition leaders led by the former vice President Dr. Riek machar teny, Pagan Amum the former SPLM Secretary General and the wife of the Late. Dr. John Garang mama Rebecca Nyandeng voted to boycott the meeting. In response, President Salva Kiir ordered the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) under the command of Maj. Gen. Marial Ciennoung commander of the Presidential Guard (Tiger battalion) to leave the meeting venue and return to the barracks such that he disarmed the troops. As such, there was discontent amongst the forces hence the 2013 incident which later on turnout to a full scale civil conflict in the world youngest nation (South Sudan).

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