Authorities reported clashes between two rival armed groups from the Gatjaak and the Gatjiok communities in several areas of Maiwut county on Monday, April 6. The fighting reportedly lasted for two days and began due to a cattle raid in the area. No information regarding any resulting casualties has been reported thus far.
Local reports suggest that armed groups and local communities in the area have been involved in similar violence before. Further violence is likely over the near term.
South Sudan has been wracked by years of political, interethnic, and intercommunal violence - exacerbated by border and oil revenue disputes with Sudan. Following the 2011 signature of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that gave the country its independence from Sudan, the predominantly north-south conflict has given way to a pattern of internal violence. Since December 2013, the country has experienced an intermittent civil war waged between President Salva Kiir's government and the SPLA on one side, and the rebel forces of the SPLM-IO, led by former Vice President Riek Machar, on the other. A 2015 peace agreement has failed to prevent outbreaks of ethnic and political violence and the conflict has continued despite international support for state-building and peacekeeping - including the 12,000-strong UNMISS force, deployed since 2011. Various factions had signed what was supposed to be a permanent ceasefire on December 21, 2017, in an effort to revive the 2015 peace agreement; however, the ceasefire was violated three days later.
Due to the high threat of intercommunal conflict and violent crime, all travel to South Sudan should be subject to a thorough localized threat assessment and undertaken in coordination with a trusted security provider. Members are advised to subject all travel, particularly to remote and rural areas, to strict journey management protocols. Avoid travel at night, vary routines and maintain a heightened sense of situational awareness. Monitor local media sources to remain apprised of security-related developments and adhere to any directives issued by local authorities.