Juba County, Central Equatoria

General information

2016 population projection: 506,888

Major population centers: Dominant: SPLA

Major ethnic group: Major ethnic group: Pajulu, Bari, Lokoya, Dinka, Nuer (2016 Population projection*: 506,888). Major population centers: Juba municipality (Juba Town, Kator and Munuki payams).

Displacement risk:

Juba County is the largest and most populous in Central Equatoria State. The county capital, Juba, is also the state and national capital. Many residents of Juba City are civil servants, casual workers or traders. In the years following independence there was somewhat of an economic boom in the city. A few non-oil sector businesses sprung up, with the city drawing investors from neighboring countries. Juba has the largest markets in the country, and its only tarmac roads. Its proximity to Uganda and Kenya facilitates cross border trade of key products which the South Sudanese economy cannot produce (or adequately supply), including seeds, food and fuel.  Most of the goods sold in Juba are imported from neighboring countries (for example, accounting for 85 percent-90percent of goods at Konyo Konyo market, according a WFP estimate). Most of the country’s formal food imports come from or through Uganda, and the key Kampala-Nimule-Juba trading route was not affected by fighting.

Despite its relative stability, residents of Juba were not shielded altogether from the effects of the broader conflict in the years 2013-2015. The national economy is dependent on the oil industry, which accounts for roughly 98 percent of the state’s budget, and the more than 70 percent drop in global oil prices since 2014 hit the country hard. The country’s oil production also halved since 2013 due to conflict. By June 2016, the IMF estimated inflation neared 300 percent. The economic strain is visible in the national capital. Many small businesses were forced to close and unemployment – especially among the youth increased markedly. The price of goods has also increased sharply. For example, sorghum prices rose 446 percent year on year as of March 2016.

Residents of Juba County also engage in livestock herding. As is common in the region, competition over grazing land and water resources has led to ongoing conflict with neighboring communities. In 2015, for example, there were recorded incidents of clashes between Juba County residents and migrating Dinka Bor cattle keepers from Jonglei State. There have also been clashes between Bari, Mundari and Dinka peoples within the county.

As fighting broke out in Juba in December 2013, there was massive displacement from the city as residents fled. Thousands from Juba and other areas later engulfed by fighting also sought shelter at UN bases in the city. Juba’s population may have fallen by as much as 50 percent by April 2014 as a result of the fighting, according to a 2014 Oxfam estimate. As of May 2016, UNMISS was sheltering 27,990 IDPs at its Juba Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites. In July 2016, fighting erupted between SPLA and SPLA-IO forces in Juba – which led to an initial displacement of an estimated 42,000 civilians. At the time of writing the events of July 2016 in Juba were still being assessed, this profile will therefore focus on the humanitarian and political conditions prior to July 2016.
*National Bureau of Statistics, Population projections for South Sudan by County

* about this map

Economy & livelihoods

IPC projection for Jan-Mar 2016

IPC Projection for Jan-Mar 2016: Juba County is classified as “Stressed” for this time period. According to the Annual Needs and Livelihood Analysis 2014-2015** report, the food security situation in the county had improved within the reporting period.
**A collaborative effort by the Republic of South Sudan, UN agencies and development partners

Historical context

On 15 December 2013, fighting erupted amidst members of the Presidential Guard in their Juba barracks which became the catalyst for the national conflict. President Salva Kiir accused Vice President Riek Machar of plotting a coup, which Mr. Machar denied. UNMISS was unable to ascertain the exact cause of the initial conflict. Mr. Machar immediately fled the capital, and his supporters in the SPLA defected to join his opposition group. Fighting rapidly spread throughout Juba as the SPLA pushed anti-government forces to the outskirts of the city and the opposition group attempted to enter Juba from Bor. Juba County became the center of intense fighting over the next few weeks. Large numbers of civilians were killed, particularly during the first three days of fighting, and there were numerous reports of extrajudicial killings, ethnic targeting, conflict-related sexual violence and looting. As fighting spread throughout the country in 2014 and 2015, the situation remained tense in Juba. There were continued reports of government security elements arbitrarily targeting Nuer civilians in early 2014. The ability of aid agencies to respond to rapidly escalating humanitarian demands was hampered by not only the ongoing fighting but also apparently government sanctioned obstacles in transporting both goods and personnel into the country.

Though the worst of the fighting was concentrated in Upper Nile and Western Bahr El-Ghazal states from 2013-2015, the situation in Central Equatoria State (including Juba County) remained tense, with pockets of fighting. In September 2015, the SPLA clashed with militia groups associated with the opposition in Wonduruba Payam which resulted in the displacement of an estimated 16,000 civilians.

About the map *

This map follows the administrative county boundaries 2005-2015. Our aim is to identify key geographic, demographic and historical features of the area, rather than political/administrative issues. In doing so, SSHP expresses no view on the development of the 28 state policy

Geography & logistics


Geographical features

Payams: Bungu, Dolo, Ganji, Gondokoro, Juba Town, Kator, Lirya, Lokiliri, Lobonok, Mangala South, Munuki, Northern Bari, Rejaf, Rokon, Tijor, Wonduruba

Geographical features: Juba City sits on the western bank of the Nile River and is surrounded by fertile agricultural land. The River Luri flows past the western side of Juba City. To the city’s north lies a vast expanse of swampland, which floods in the rainy season. The Jaral Marata mountain range can be seen to its west.

The Nile provides a year-round transportation route to the country’s northern regions and is in fact the only reliable travel link between southern, central and northern South Sudan during the rainy season. The country has roughly 1,400km of navigational waterways, divided into a vertical axis (Juba to Kosti) and horizontal axis (Bentiu in the west to Akobo and the eastern border with Ethiopia). Many of the river’s tributaries are also navigable during the rainy season. However, parts of the river route are highly insecure with attacks by armed militia being reported. Fluctuating water levels and other geographic factors means that there is a limit to how much cargo barges can carry (e.g. there is a 300 metric ton limit for barges traveling between Juba and Bor). There has been limited port development, leading to some logistics difficulties. At present, passengers usually travel on power boats or in allocated space on cargo barges.

Main roads: There are seven primary roads and one secondary road connecting Juba to surrounding counties. They are all season roads suitable to vehicles up to and including trailers (>20 metric tons), however some road conditions deteriorate once further from Juba. The road heading south to Kajo-Keji, past Mimakimi, is accessible to only trucks (<20 metric tons) and only in the dry season. The road heading southwest to Magwi County becomes accessible only to trucks (<20 metric tons) and only in the dry season, past Rejaf – deteriorating further past Nyaing to unknown conditions for 4WD only (<3.5 metric tons). The road heading east to Lapon County becomes accessible only to trucks (<20 metric tons) and only in the dry season, past Mogiri.

All season fixed wing air-strips: Juba

Main roads

In the wake of fighting in December 2013, approximately 85,000 civilians sought refuge at UNMISS compounds in South Sudan, including in Juba. Intercommunal violence, possibly tied to the national conflict, has led to tensions in PoC sites. Notably, in May 2015 violence erupted between the Bul Nuer and Adok clans from the Nuer community, which resulted in one death and over 70 wounded. As of May 2016, UNMISS is sheltering 27,990 IDPs at its Juba Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites. According to a report by the UN Secretary General in early 2016, there is increasing unrest within and around the sites, including divisions based on ethnic lines.

Fighting once again erupted in Juba in early July 2016 between SPLA and SPLA-IO forces. The conflict led to an estimated 42,000 displaced, based on initial figures from humanitarian agencies that month. By 14 July, UNICEF estimated there were 12,800 IDPs living in and around Juba, with nearly 80 percent seeking shelter at UNMISS camps in the city

All season fixed-wing airstrips


Information last updated: 26/08/16

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