Bor County, Jonglei
2016 population projection: 295,409
Major population centers: Bor, the state capital
Major ethnic group: Bor Dinka.
Low risk of new conflict-related displacement. However, approximately 2,000 people still live in the protection of civilians (POC) site on the Bor UNMISS base. Early in the conflict, more than 6,000 IDPs sought refuge at this POC site. Bor town changed hands a number of times, causing repeat (and alternating) displacements. Those who did not go to the POC site, sought refuge at Mingkaman, the River Nile Islands, neighboring counties, and some traveled on to Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya. As of March 2016, more than 513,000 are still displaced throughout Jonglei State. The internal distribution of the IDP population, however, has changed significantly since 2015. IDP populations have increased in Uror, Ayod and Fangak counties, and declined in Bor South, Nyirol, Canal, and Pibor counties (FAO 2016).
Economy & livelihoods
Part of the “Nile and Sobat Rivers” and “Eastern Flood Plains” livelihood zones, Bor South is an agriculture, pastoral, and fishing economy (ACTED Sep 2013). The River Nile flows along the county’s western border and is a major transport and natural asset. The riverine area provides essential pasture for cattle and fishing supplements livelihoods in the dry season. Livestock normally move towards the River Nile from February to April and return to homesteads from May to June. 25 percent of households in the country are famers and the main crops grown are sorghum, maize, groundnut and cowpeas. Bor is a major market, with access to Juba and Malakal via the River Nile and main roads. Under normal conditions floods are a main hazard as they can limit fishing activities and reduce crop, livestock, and wild foods production (particularly water lilies) (FEWS NET 2013). Additionally, cattle raids, livestock diseases, crop pests and drought are the major factors affecting livelihoods.
Livelihoods in Bor South were severely imperiled by the conflict beginning in December 2013. Fighting in Bor caused significant loss of life, widespread destruction of property, and repeated displacement of people. Livestock movements were thoroughly disrupted by the conflict. Cattle herders fled in all directions out of Bor South throughout 2014 and the county experienced livestock disease outbreaks (FAO December 2014). In August 2015, the FAO reported the return of some normal livestock movements through the country but abnormal migration patterns also continued.
IPC projection for Jan-Mar 2016
The IPC projects “crisis” levels of food insecurity for Bor South County for Jan to Mar 2016. This is an increase from the “stressed” levels projected for the county for October to December 2015. Food security for populations living in camps in the county, however, were projected to still be at “crisis” levels of food insecurity, with the IPC specifying that these populations would likely be at least one phase worse off without humanitarian assistance. Since mid 2014, the southern counties of Jonglei State have consistently been reported as one phase more food secure than northern neighbors, in contested or SPLA IO controlled areas.
Dominant Control during conflict: SPLA/M
Within two days of fighting starting in Juba in December 2013, Nuer SPLA commander Peter Gatdet and the Bor based 8th Division defected from the government. The newly formed SPLA IO and Nuer white armies advanced along the main road to Juba. By some reports they came within 30 km of the capital. The Bor Juba road saw weeks of heavy fighting as the SPLA – with significant help from the Uganda People’s Defense Force – slowly advanced towards Bor. Jonglei’s capital changed hands four times in the first couple months of fighting. With each change, the displaced population in the nearby UNMISS POC site rotated. The government regained firm control of Bor town in early February 2014.
Bor town was almost entirely destroyed in this fighting, at least 2,500 were killed and thousands displaced (SAS 2014). At its peak, the UNMISS POC site sheltered more than 6,000 IDPs. In April 2014, Bor youth mobilized a revenge attack on Nuers living in the camp that breached the perimeter and killed at least 60 people. After re capturing Bor, the SPLA and UPDF pushed north into Twic East and beyond. By the end of the 2014, the government controlled Bor South, Twic East, Pochalla, most of Duk Counties, and Ayod town; the SPLA IO controlled Akobo, Nyrol and Uror Counties; and, Fangak and Canal Counties remained contested. Outside of the POC, life in Bor South County has returned to some semblance of normality. Bor has been rebuilt and remains a key market town, although not at its previous strength.
Greater Bor Dinka youth are largely aligned with the government, however they are not a coherent fighting force (Crisis 2014). Greater Bor communities remain internally divided. Whatever limited unity exists stems from shared opposition to the SPLA IO – given its association with ethnic Nuer Dinka violence – but also dissatisfaction with President Kiir. Tension between Dinka from Greater Bor (home of John Garang) and Dinka from Greater Bahr el Ghazal (home of President Kiir) has existed for more than a decade. When the fighting started in December 2013, John Garang’s son, Mablor Garang, joined the opposition, but his widow, Rebecca Garang, has remained independent.
Eastern Bor South County borders the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) and has been the site of recent large cattle raids. In October 2015, for example, 30 people were killed in Jalle Payam during an attack reportedly conducted by Murle from Pibor. Cattle raiding and violence among Jonglei State’s communities is long standing. Raiding is intimately tied to social norms in the region, but also reflects larger conflict dynamics and contexts in Jonglei State and the country, including unresolved grievances, lack of services and political representation, lack of governance structures, and suspicion of government.
Geography & logistics
Anyidi, Baidit, Bor, Jalle, Kolnyang, Makuach
The White Nile and several tributary rivers flow along Bor South County’s western border. The area immediately around the Nile is characterized by swampy vegetation of papyrus, reeds, Napier grass and bush scrub. Area further east is characterized by low, flood plains and bush.
Main roads connect Bor to Juba, Pibor, Akobo and Malakal. The Bor Juba road saw some of the most intense fighting in the first weeks of the war. Bor is also located along the River Nile, which is an important riverine transport route to Malakal.
All season fixed-wing airstrips
Information last updated: 26/08/16
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