Key findings

  • Following a combined Dinka–Nuer attack on Murle in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) in December 2022–January 2023, youth forces have returned home, and the onset of the rainy season will prevent another major mobilization in the coming months.
  • Small-scale Murle attacks on Dinka and Nuer communities continue. Retribution for such raids was a major motivating factor in the mobilizations of November–December 2022. Raiding also remains a central means of resource acquisition in the state.
  • A variety of government-led and international NGO interventions have failed to address the root causes of conflict in Jonglei, including protracted economic and humanitarian crises.
  • Administrations in both Bor and Pibor lack the means and will to resolve the crisis. Denay Chagor, the outgoing governor of Jonglei, had political capital in Juba but not among his home constituents, the Lou Nuer. His time as governor was characterized by administrative struggles and corruption scandals. On 8 May 2023, his removal was announced by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir. Lokali Amae Bullen, the chief administrator of the GPAA, is a weak figure who lacks the capacity to control Murle youth forces.
  • In January 2023, a US-sanctioned company paid for the release of at least 60 Murle abductees held by Lou Nuer youth in Pibor. Revenue from the return of abductees was used to purchase materiel from soldiers in the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF). The government purchased the freedom of further abductees in Ayod county, Jonglei, in April 2023, with material assistance from international NGOs.
  • Humanitarian convoys are being repeatedly attacked, with over 100 metric tons of supplies looted from January to March 2023. These attacks compound the dire humanitarian situation in Jonglei and the GPAA.