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South Sudan: Inter-communal fighting in Jonglei displaces 60,000
Clashes between the Lou Nuer and Murle communities have displaced tens of thousands of civilians in Jonglei State and led United Nations agencies to launch a major humanitarian response. The violence displaced around 60,000 people between 23 December and 10 January. The government of South Sudan and the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) are trying to reach remote areas of the bush where many have fled.
The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that it needed funding to enable it to reach remote affected areas by air. UNMISS peacekeepers have been deployed to support the efforts of government forces, but UN Security Council (UNSC) members were also concerned that the mission’s shortage of operational helicopters was limiting its ability to carry out its mandate. While calling on the warring communities to engage in reconciliation, the UNSC welcomed the efforts of the South Sudanese government to protect civilians and mediate a solution to the crisis.
In the last seven months of 2011 over 1,000 people died in cattle raids and counter raids between the groups, and some 63,000 people were displaced, according to reports by local authorities and assessment teams.
The UN and other agencies are also responding to internal displacements in Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei State, and to the needs of tens of thousands of Sudanese refugees in South Sudan who have fled fighting north of the border since South Sudan declared independence. They have continued to assist around 110,000 people displaced within South Sudan during the crisis which broke out in Abyei in May.
The UN has warned that at least a million people are expected to be unable to meet their food needs in 2012, an increase of more than 100,000 from 2011, and that the situation of more than 3.6 million South Sudanese may worsen due to high food prices, continued displacements and insecurity.
See also: IDMC South Sudan country page
Kenya: Communal violence in the north leads to displacement
Inter-ethnic violence over water and pasture resources in northern Kenya has led to loss of life and displacement. Violence in Moyale near the Ethiopian border between the Borana and Gabra herding communities has claimed the lives of 46 people and displaced over 6,600, according to a local leader. The violence was reportedly triggered by attempts by both communities, including tribesmen from across the border, to seize grazing land. According to the Daily Nation of Kenya, Government offices and businesses could not open for fear of looting, and the education of some 3,000 children was affected as 17 schools remained closed.
Violence in pastoral areas in 2011 left more than 350 people dead, compared to 179 in 2010, highlighting the impact of the 2011 drought in increasing resource-based conflicts. The National Cohesion and Integration Commission, which the government set up following the post-election crisis of 2008, also linked the ethnic violence to the general election due in 2012. Localised tensions have increased as the move towards devolved county governments has intensified competition for local power and resources.
See also: IDMC Kenya country page
Nigeria : Sectarian violence across the country displaces thousands
According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), some 10,000 people were internally displaced in Yobe State following clashes between the Boko Haram sect and security forces. Boko Haram militants attacked several churches on 25 December (Christmas Day) after demanding that Christians in the largely Muslim north leave the region. Reports of attacks on Christians across north-eastern Nigeria have heightened fears of a sectarian conflict in areas long prone to local conflicts over access to land and resources.
Nigerian Red Cross officials reported that members of the mostly Christian Igbo ethnic group, a minority in the mainly Muslim north, were fleeing the north-east. NEMA’s regional coordinator added that most of those fleeing were avoiding camps as they feared becoming easy targets for further attacks there.
Meanwhile, on 9 January, some 10,000 people were also displaced in the southern state of Benin following attacks on (mostly Muslim) Hausa residents.
See also: IDMC Nigeria country page