Conflict in other parts of the country has led to an increase in the number of Internally Displaced Person’s (IDPs) migrating either to or via Akobo on their way to refugee camps in Ethiopia. With discussions on the movement of IDPs from the UNMISS base in Bor, the opportunity to unfold the wider dynamics and vulnerabilities in Akobo has presented itself. At the time of writing, the displaced population in Akobo East has reached 45,000 IDPs and Akobo West in 26,000, with 500 to 600 new arrivals coming per week. Some move on to Ethopia, others absorbed into the host community and WFP hosts IDPs who have nowhere else to go.
Divided into 3 parts, the report charts the local relationships, the political context vis-à-vis the wider conflict and finally the humanitarian situation faced by Internally Displaced Persons. Mapping the relationships between the Lou Nuer and Anyuak (pp. 7-10), Lou Nuer and Murle (pp. 11-16) and Lou Nuer and Jikany Nuer (pp. 16-21), the report covers the progression of the relationship to how it stands as of April 2015, in the context of the protracted conflict in South Sudan.
The political context explores why Akobo is so important, politically and in relation to trade servicing SPLA-IO held areas, offering a draw to IDPs (p. 21 and p. 25) but also why it is an area of strategic importance as this conflict unfolds. Exploring the defection of Lul Ruai Koang (p. 23) indicates a potential trend that may emerge with the South Sudan Resistance Army (SSRA) an emerging opposition group within the Opposition itself.
These issues about point to why Akobo has been a point where IDPs have sought refuge, not just as a quick jump to Ethiopia but an important location for Lou Nuer. Describing how IDPs made their way to Akobo, including one family who had to float their children on the river in a plastic tub, what has influenced movement patterns is of critical importance to understanding the humanitarian operation in South Sudan. This overview (pp. 26-30) of IDPs and the challenges they face is an insight into potential future needs.