Jur River County, Western Bahr El Ghazal
2016 population projection: 174,860
Major population centers: Kuajiena and Kangi towns
Major ethnic group: Balanda Bor (with minority of Jur Chol peoples)
There has been some displacement due to fighting in neighboring Wau County. Following clashes between unknown armed groups in February and March 2016 in Wau’s Beelia and Kiyango villages 5,570 IDPs fled their villages and established new settlements in Udici Payam.
Economy & livelihoods
Residents engage in a mix of farming, livestock rearing and fishing for their livelihoods (36 percent, 34 percent and 18 percent, respectively). Groundnut, sorghum and maize were the most popular crops in the county, with more limited cultivation of sesame. A minority of residents also cultivated vegetables, cassava and millet. There is greater presence of cattle in Jur River compared to the other two counties in the state. Cattle raids and disputes with pastoralists in neighboring Warrap and Western Bahr el Ghazal states over the destruction of crops often arise.
Poorer households cultivated by hand tills while families who were better off used animal traction, according to a 2013 report by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). Each household cultivated an average of 0.6 hectares. Unlike other regions of South Sudan, cattle herding is not a livelihood activity in the state (though presence of cattle in Jur River is higher than other counties in the state). Families do keep small numbers of mainly goats and poultry for household consumption. Collecting wild honey, shea butter nuts and thatching grass are also ways through which some residents supplement their income. Lack of equipment prevents some from profiting from forestry resources (timber and mahogany, for example) available in some parts of the county. During the dry season, residents have access to wild food sources such as mangoes, shea butter nut and honey.
IPC projection for Jan-Mar 2016
The County is classified as “Stressed” for this time period. According to the Annual Needs and Livelihood Analysis 2014 2015** report, the County’s food security outlook had severely deteriorated over the reporting period. However, it still had a surplus of 2,631 tons of cereal in 2015. Western Bahr el Ghazal state was the only state where every county produced a surplus of cereal for the reporting period.
**A collaborative effort by the Republic of South Sudan, UN agencies and development partners
Dominant Control during conflict: SPLA
The national conflict between Government and Opposition forces has had a limited impact on Jur River County. The county has experienced spillover effects from the war, including heightened ethnic tensions, possibly exacerbated by related economic strains, but has not seen direct fighting between the two main warring sides.
In late April 2014 however fighting between Dinka youth and Nuer soldiers erupted at the SPLA barracks in Mapel. While there are competing accounts of the incident, it appears that the conflict was sparked when an ethnic Nuer SPLA trainee was killed in the marketplace. Clashes at the base, one of the SPLA’s largest and also an important training centre, resulted in an unknown number of deaths and the defection of an estimated 100 500 Nuer soldiers. It is unclear whether they left to join the Opposition, or because they feared further ethnic based attacks. A group of defectors reportedly travelled north through Northern Bahr el Ghazal in subsequent months, raiding civilian homes as they headed to join other opposition fighters in Sudan. Meanwhile, the SPLA announced in July 2014 that 255 of the Mapel deserters had returned.
Attacks by armed militia groups on civilians in Jur River and neighbouring Wau County have been a cause of insecurity and have led to displacement (however the linkages, if any, between these groups and the SPLM/A IO are unclear). Following fighting between unknown armed groups in February and March 2016 in Wau’s Beelia and Kiyango villages, for example, 5,570 IDPs fled their villages and established new settlements in Udici Payam. SPLA defectors have also reportedly turned to armed banditry in Wau and surrounding areas, resulting in several civilian deaths.
Geography & logistics
Kangi, Kuajena, Marial Bai, Rocrocdong, Udici, Wau Bai
The entire state falls under the Ironstone Plateau livelihood zone, which is characterized by open savannah woodlands. Vegetation is a mixture of grasslands and forest, including mahogany and bamboo trees. The sandy, clay soil is considered moderately fertile and supports production of a variety of crops. The rivers Pongo, Jur and Sue flow through Jur River County. The areas around Kiyango village, in Jur River County’s north, tend to become flooded in the rainy season. Areas around the River Jur are also prone to flooding.
Four main roads connecting state capital Wau to key towns in neighbouring states pass through Jur River County, which lies at the eastern edge of Western Bahr el Ghazal State. The County’s key towns of Kuajiena and Kangi also lie alongside these roads, which are passable to all vehicles and in all seasons. The exception is the Wau Warrap route which is only open to trucks under 20 metric tons.
All season fixed-wing airstrips
Information last updated: 26/08/16
For more information, please contact us