RUBKONA OVERVIEW AND DISPLACEMENT DYNAMICS
Rubkona County is an administrative division of Northern Liech State and formerly part of Unity State in South Sudan. It borders Guit County to the east, Southern Kordofan State (Sudan) to the north, Abiemnhom County to the northwest, Mayom County to the west and Koch County to the south.
Since the outbreak of violence between the Government and the opposition movement led by Riek Machar in December 2013, there has been a signicant level of armed conict in the area. In the rst year of the conict, the main town of Bentiu exchanged hands three times with both sides being accused of signicant human rights abuses. This included a brutal attack on civilians in April 2014 in which as many as 200 people may have been killed. During those battles, foreign ghters from Sudanese militia groups, including the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army / North (SPLA/N), fought alongside Government forces and continue to maintain a presence in the region.
Other signicant clashes took place during that period in Jazeera, Kaljak, Nhialdiu and Panacuac. Since Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) offensives in mid-2015 to regain control of the County, the area of Rubkona has been considerably calmer. However, there has been sustained Sudanese People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA/iO) presence in small pockets of the county leading to further clashes between the two main warring parties in Jazeera,
Nhialdiu and Buaw in late 2016.
The emergence of civil conflict in South Sudan led to massive internal and cross-border displacement of civilians, amidst extreme violence, harassment and the deliberate destruction of infrastructure such as marketplaces and boreholes. Basic community services were decimated in many areas, and the crisis contributed to food insecurity. Since the start of the conflict, Bentiu has become home to the largest Protection of Civilian (PoC) site in the country. While the initial inux to the UNMISS base in Bentiu was made up of people escaping violence in Bentiu town, it has come to house large numbers of civilians from the rest of Rubkona County as well as increasingly large numbers from areas further south.
When the humanitarian community began expanding the PoC site in January 2015, the population was 43,718 IDPs. This figure increased to over 87,000 IDPs by July 2015. The PoC was able to eventually accommodate a population of over 149,000 IDPs by February 2016 and currently houses around 120,000 IDPs as per recent Population Head Counts.