Re-eruption of inter-communal violence

By the end of 2022, incidents of inter-communal violence had increased in Rumbek North and Cueibet counties, both bordering Warrap state. Tensions have historically existed between the Agar Dinka in Rumbek North and the Gok Dinka in Cueibet, often resulting in extremely violent episodes, linked mainly to cattle-rustling and revenge attacks.

Overall levels of armed violence were reduced through a significant security presence in the area, provided predominantly by SSPDF soldiers and. closely coordinated with the state government; however, tensions among the subsections and with communities in Tonj, in Warrap state, remained high (Craze, 2022, pp. 54–56). While infighting between various subsections in the two counties has been relatively under control since Rin Tueny took office, cross-border raiding to Tonj East (from Rumbek North) and Tonj South (from Cueibet) has spiked since late 2022. Severe fighting took place between youth from the Pakam subsection in Rumbek North and the Luacjang subsection in Tonj East in Warrap in late February and early March 2023, for instance, and left more than 150 people dead (Radio Tamazuj, 2023a). Rin Tueny visited the region shortly after these attacks and held consultations with the. governor of Warrap state, Manhiem Bol Malek. Some raided cattle were subsequently returned,  and the situation appeared to improve in the period leading up to the rainy season in May 2023.

Cattle-rustling incidents resulting in this level of death and injury have not been witnessed since Rin Tueny took over governorship. As a result, communities within border areas with Warrap are beginning to question the sustainability of his approach to security. Recent violence in these  areas suggests that the youth involved consider the socio-economic rewards gained by raiding to outweigh the risk of being targeted by security forces. Should similar sentiments spread, this dynamic will undermine Rin Tueny’s broader security strategy,  and foster doubts about whether the deterrence-based security approach is sustainable.