Mayom County, Unity
2016 population projection: 172,888
Major population centers: Mayom, Tam and Wang Kay towns
Major ethnic group: Nuer (Bul clan); with minority of Dinka (Ruweng) and Nuer (Lek clan)
There was significant displacement in Mayom as a result of conflict. Residents began fleeing their homes at the onset of the conflict in late December, with an estimated 5,220 displaced to payams south of Mayom town or to neighboring states. Humanitarian groups estimate there were approximately 30,000 IDPs in Mayom as of late 2015.
Economy & livelihoods
Residents are agro pastoralists. The main crops cultivated are sorghum and vegetables including okra, cowpeas and pumpkin. People herd mainly goats, with some also keeping cattle and sheep. In Mankien payam (the largest in the County), residents normally grow maize, sorghum, beans, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Cattle raids and conflict over resources often accompany the seasonal migration of herds into Greater Bahr El Ghazal. Some fishing also takes place. Trade in firewood, elephant grass and casual labor are common means through which poorer households supplement their income.
A September 2015 IPC report found residents from Abiemnhom, Mayom, Pariang, Panyijiar and Rubkona counties relying on the following sources of income: sale of firewood, charcoal or grass (35.7 percent); sale of livestock and livestock products (14.5 percent); sale of alcoholic beverages (12.7 percent); sale of fish (9.2 percent), agriculture (9.2 percent); casual labor (6.7 percent); gifts, borrowing, begging or sale of food aid (3.6 percent).
Prior to the conflict, Mayom was an important trading hub for goods from Sudan.
IPC projection for Jan-Mar 2016
The County is classified as “Crisis” for this time period. According to the Annual Needs and Livelihood Analysis 2014 2015** report, the County had a deficit of 13,693 tons of cereal in 2015. Conflict related insecurity and displacement were primary drivers of food insecurity. However, heavy flooding in August 2014 also displaced thousands and destroyed crops. A November 2014 IRNA assessment in Turkei village found that people were relying on water lilies, lalob fruit, coconut and occasional fish to survive.
**A collaborative effort by the Republic of South Sudan, UN agencies and development partners
Dominant Control during conflict: SPLA
Mayom is a strategically and symbolically important town and, as a result, was the site of significant fighting between government and opposition forces. The County provided a transport link to Warrap State and was thus an SPLA supply route. It is also home to key state politicians including the former Kiir appointed state governor Joseph Nguen Monytuel and former SPLA IO military governor, Peter Gadet.
Though the SPLA IO initially appeared in control of Mayom, in January 2014 government forces seized control of Mayom town and pushed opposition forces to the outskirts of the County, where they remained entrenched for the remainder of the year. The two sides fought over control of Mayom town in early 2014 though the government managed to retain control. The SPLA subsequently focused on dispersing SPLA IO from their positions in Mayom’s southeastern corner (areas near the border with Rubkona and Koch counties). However, this was unsuccessful as opposition forces maintained a presence in Wicok, Buoth and other rural areas of the County. Skirmishes continued into 2015, however the county was overall more peaceful compared to the first year of conflict. As of early 2016, the SPLA still maintained overall control of Mayom. Landmines and explosive remnants of war were reportedly left in Mayom (as well as Leer, Bentiu, Pariang and Abiemnhom), which UN Mine Action is in the process of clearing.
Allegations of forced recruitment, including of children, have been levied against both main warring parties, however no conclusive figures are available. According to February 2015 reports received by humanitarian groups, up to 12percent of the male population in Mayom County had been forcibly recruited.
There was significant displacement in Mayom caused by ongoing conflict. Residents began fleeing their homes at the onset of the conflict in late December, with an estimated 5,220 displaced to payams south of Mayom town or to neighboring states, according to local authorities. Fighting resulted in the destruction of approximately 60 percent of homes in Mayom town by the end of January 2014. The County also received IDPs from other regions of the state as fighting continued but verification of IDP numbers was difficult owing to the conflict environment. Authorities estimated there were over 46,000 IDPs in Mayom County by November 2014. Humanitarian groups estimate there were approximately 30,000 IDPs as of late 2015.
Revenge attacks and intra clan tensions could continue to pose a threat to Mayom and Unity’s stability. Mayom is home to the Bul Nuer group which made up the predominant group of SPLA fighters (in Unity State, at least) by 2015 and also dominate state government positions. Other Nuer groups in Unity state reportedly harbor resentment towards the Bul Nuer for aligning with the government in attacks against fellow Nuer in Southern Unity. Humanitarian groups have received reports that some Dok and Jikany Nuer individuals have referred to the Bul as “Dinka” in the Bentiu Protection of Civilian (PoC) camp. It is worth noting that fighting broke out between Bul Nuer and other Nuer groups at the Juba PoC 3 site in May 2015, involving hundreds of IDPs and resulted in at least one fatality.
Geography & logistics
Bieh, Kuerbuone, Kueryiek, Mankien, Ngop, Pup, Riak, Ruathnyibuol, Wangbuor 1, Wangbuor 2, Wangbuor 3, Wangkei
The region is dominated by flat grasslands, with some shrubs, thorns, and patches of forest. The sandy and loamy soils are relatively fertile. The land is rocky in some areas. Mayom County receives relatively low rainfall compared to other regions of Upper Nile and Unity which limits crop cultivation to certain drought resistant varieties (sorghum, gum arabic etc). The rivers Kiir and Loll runs through the County, converging near Mayom Town, and the River Jur is also located at its southeast. Potential flooding areas include the banks of River Jur, and around Mankien Payam. Fresh water marshes are located along the banks of the rivers.
A primary road runs west out of Mayom to connect to Abiemnhom town, Abiemnhom County which is passable for all vehicles, but only in the dry season. It eventually connects to Agok village. Another primary road runs east to connect to Bentiu, the state capital. It is also open to all vehicles but only in the dry season. The Mayom Bentiu road was rehabilitated in December 2015, though it is not known whether the road is accessible year round. Mayom connects to Abyei through a secondary track of unknown seasonable conditions which is also open only to 4WD (<3.5 metric tons).
All season fixed-wing airstrips
Tharagana and Tam. According to a February 2015 IRNA assessment, the airstrip at Mankien is rehabilitated but only accessible by fixed wing during the dry season.
Information last updated: 26/08/16
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