Cueibet County, Lakes
2016 population projection: 170,268
Major population centers: Langdit Town (Malou Pec Payam) and Abiriu, Abiriu Payam
Major ethnic group: Dinka (Dinka Gok clan); with some Dinka Agar clan (Pakam sub clan) and Jur Belli representation
Cycles of retaliatory intercommunal violence drives small scale internal displacement on a continuous basis. The County was not a major point of congregation for IDPs in Lakes State but is hosting at least 2,000 displaced peoples in the northern areas of the County.
Economy & livelihoods
Cattle herding and subsistence farming are the predominant means of livelihood for Cueibet County residents. Cattle are an important part of life for the Dinka and, as in other parts of South Sudan; they represent both economic and social status. As part of the Western Flood Plains livelihood zone, the region is characterized by fertile, black clay soils suitable for agriculture. However, some reports indicate that residents have only been farming in the County since 2012. Residents grow cereal such as maize and sorghum, and local vegetables such as Kudra. Rivers including the Bahr Gel, which flows south throughout the County, provides opportunities for fishing.
Intercommunal violence, including clashes related to cattle raiding, represents the predominant challenge to people’s livelihoods and has played a disruptive role in the economy which threatens local livelihoods. Humanitarian agency AVIS estimated that much of the local economy is based on cattle raiding. Violent cattle raids and their associated revenge attacks force people from their homes, interrupting cultivations. Attackers also often loot valuable food stocks from those fleeing. Cueibet, like the rest of the Lakes State, also experiences annual flooding. During the rainy season, parts of the County’s north (Tiaptiap, Pagor and Chitchok payams) are cut off from the rest of the County as the nearby River Bahr Gel overflows. Flooding also displaces cattle camps and forces migration of herds into agricultural areas, which often leads to tensions with resident farmers as the animals may destroy crops.
In times of food insecurity, common coping mechanisms include sales of livestock and consumption of wild leaves, food and fruit.
The market at Cueibet relies on commodities transported from Rumbek Centre, the main source market for Lakes State. Market functionality has been disrupted in recent years, likely owing to both intercommunal violence and seasonal flooding.
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 had a deficit of 2,441 tons of cereal in 2015. However, it should be noted that Cueibet is still one of the state’s primary cereal producers (accounting for 19 percent of the state’s 2014 net cereal production).
**A collaborative effort by the Republic of South Sudan, UN agencies and development partners
Dominant Control during conflict: SPLA.
As the state has not been a major site of SPLA SPLA IO contention, there is low internal displacement related to the national conflict. Cueibet County hosted around 2,600 IDPs, likely fleeing conflict in Jonglei State, by June 2014. An IRNA report found that the majority of the IDPs had settled around Bahrgel village.
The primary source of insecurity in Cueibet is intercommunal violence, which has affected every county of Lakes State but is particularly noted in Cueibet, Yirol West, Rumbek North, Rumbek East and Rumbek Central. There is an extremely high incidence of civilian owned weapons despite some attempts at disarmament which exacerbates the violence of these clashes, which are reported with alarming frequency. Within Cueibet, there has been frequent conflict between, for example, the Waat and Panyar or the Waat and Ayiel sub clans of the Dinka Gok clan. Communities have also been involved in cycles of attacks with neighboring communities. Notably, the Dinka Gok clan has been embroiled in a longstanding conflict with the Pakam of Rumbek North County. These conflicts over cattle appear to have pre dated the current national conflict, but may have been exacerbated by it. Women and children are often targeted during revenge attacks. The level of violence spiked notably in 2014 when, for example, 156 died in a series of raids and revenge attacks over three days in May.
In August 2014, the state government suspended three Cueibet County chiefs due to their desire to join the Tonj South administration. The chiefs controlled areas in western parts of the County, near the border with Tonj South (Warrap) state. The dispute reportedly arose when the state (banned the local community from operating traditional courts and the chiefs in turn told their communities not to travel to the county headquarters for trade or judicial issues.
According to the Cueibet Diocese, the County is home to approximately 97,000 Christians (57 percent of the population).
Geography & logistics
Abiriu, Citcok, Duony, Malou, Ngap, Pagor
The County is flat and its many lakes, rivers and lowlands are prone to seasonal flooding, as part of the Western Flood Plains livelihood zone. As a result, despite having fertile black clay soils the majority of residents also rear livestock for their livelihoods, sometimes as their predominant source of livelihood.
A primary road cuts across Cueibet County roughly on a horizontal axis, connecting the three main towns of Langdit, Cueibet and Abiriu, as well as Rumbek Town to the east and Tonj (Warrap State) to the west of the County. The road is open to all vehicles and throughout all seasons, despite having many potholes in the Cueibet Rumbek segment (the segment heading towards Wau was gravel and smooth as of a 2013 survey). A secondary road runs north out of Langdit into Warrap state, and is open to trucks (<20 metric tons) in the dry season. A road also runs south of Cueibet into neighbouring Wulu County. It is open to 4WD vehicles (< 3.5 metric tons) only, and only in the dry season.
All season fixed-wing airstrips
None. The airstrips at Cueibet and Ag Ngrial are out of use, as of a May 2013 Logistics Cluster map.
Information last updated: 26/08/16
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