Kapoeta South County, Eastern Equatoria

General information

2016 population projection: 117,315

Major population centers: Kapoeta Town; Machi One and Pwata Payams

Major ethnic group: Didinga, Toposa

Displacement risk:


* about this map

Economy & livelihoods

Most residents depend on livestock rearing and trade for their livelihoods. The acrid land is unsuitable for agriculture, though some subsistence farming does take place. Cattle are a status symbol and, similar to the situation in neighboring counties, cattle raids and conflict related to competition over resources are common.

As in other parts of South Sudan, residents have been feeling the effects of the country’s economic crisis, including in Kapoeta Town – a bustling market town just two hours from the border with Kenya (and a primary point of entry for Kenyan goods). Because of the population’s high dependence on trade and livestock for their livelihoods, they are extremely vulnerably to shifts in livestock to cereal terms of trade. As of early 2016 at least two protests were reported in Kapoeta Town, linked to dissatisfaction over rising food costs. Alcohol, both imported and locally produced, may be having detrimental social effects in the area, though research is lacking. In May 2015, the county commissioner banned the sale of alcohol, including “Siko”, a strong beverage made from cassava and sugar, which had been widely consumed in the area. In an interview with news website The Niles, the commissioner said that the ban was aimed at preventing more alcohol related deaths among youth.

Some county residents are reportedly involved in panning for gold in areas such as Nanakanak and along the Singaita River. At least one international company has reportedly obtained a license for gold exploration in Greater Kapoeta. However, mineral development potential and possible impact on livelihoods is unknown at this time.

IPC projection for Jan-Mar 2016

Kapoeta South is classified as “Stressed” during 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, though there remained a deficit of 7,149 tons of cereal in 2015. Threats to food security across the state more broadly include conflict related insecurity that disrupts market access, unfavorable weather, deprecating currency, rising market prices and dwindling cereal stocks at household level.
**A collaborative effort by the Republic of South Sudan, UN agencies and development partners

Historical context

Dominant Control during conflict: SPLA

Eastern Equatoria has not witnessed large scale fighting in the national conflict. The major threats to people’s livelihoods in Greater Kapoeta (Kapoeta North, South and East) are cattle raiding, armed banditry and persistent droughts. However, there have reports of sporadic fighting between government and various militia groups in Kapoeta South, possibly tied to the wider conflict. In December 2015 a group calling themselves the South Sudan Armed Forces said they seized a police post called Idolu, about 35km from the state capital, Torit, and took over an SPLA military base in Longiro village. There was no official response or acknowledgement from the Government.

There has been no significant internal displacement or arrival of refugees from other countries.

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


Kapoeta Town, Longeleya, Machi One, Machi Two, Pwata

Geographical features

The County is part of the Pastoral livelihood zone of Eastern Equatoria State, with one cropping season. The clay soil becomes muddy with even sparse rainfall, and there is little vegetation apart from thorny shrub. There is potential for mineral development in Greater Kapoeta, notably gold.

Main roads

Kapoeta Town connects to Narus (and beyond that, Kenya) and Kuron towns of Kapoeta East County via a primary road. The road to the South Sudan Kenya border is open throughout the year to vehicles up to trailers (>20 metric tons); however, the branch which heads towards Kuron deteriorates and is only passable to trucks (<20 metric tons) and only in the dry season. Another primary road runs west out of Kapoeta Town to connect to Torit County. It is open to all vehicles throughout the year. Secondary roads connect to Pibor County (Jonglei State) to its north, running through Kapoeta East County. It is only passable with 4WD (<3.5 metric tons) in the dry season. A secondary road runs south out of Kapoeta Town to Chukudum Town of Budi County. Road conditions are unknown.

All season fixed-wing airstrips



Information last updated: 26/08/16

For more information, please contact us

  Reports by state