South Sudan: Women and Children Face Attacks in Jonglei State
Friday, December 14, 2012 12:35 PM

South Sudan declared its independence from Sudan in July 2011, but the aftermath of the civil war lingers within the community. During the war, Sudan pitted South Sudanese communities against each other and armed them. Today, women and children face the worst of the inter-communal violence in the Jonglei State of South Sudan. 

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has released a new report on the violence in the area based on medical data and over 100 testimonies from patients and staff. Since January 2011, Jonglei has seen 302 attacks and the death of 2,500 people between the ethnic groups. Lydia Stone, an advisor to South Sudan’s Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, explained, “The introduction of small arms and the decades of brutality have changed the dynamic… The men carrying out these attacks view anyone as a viable target - including women and children. Indeed, the cycle of revenge has now spiraled to the extent that the attackers regard the killing or abduction of women and children as a necessary method of revenge.”
Sexual violence has also emerged specifically in the Pibor county of Jonglei, where the Murle and Lou Nuer ethnic groups are most often in conflict. Attempts to pacify the region have been threatened by the emergence of a new rebel group, and the disarmament and rearmament cycle continues. Few international aid agencies persist in the dangerous environment, while the majority has evacuated. 
Toby Lanzer, the humanitarian coordinator and the UN Secretary-General’s deputy special representative at the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), spoke of the appeal for US$1.16 billion in aid for South Sudan in 2013: “One of the reasons why we were the first country in the world this year to issue our humanitarian appeal for 2013 is precisely because we need to get ready in case the worst occurs.”