Events in Tonj

Much of Warrap is relatively peaceful at present. This is partly a function of the seasons: with the end of the rains in September 2023, the gelweng and their cattle have moved back to their communities, lessening the occurrence of raiding. In August, much of the population of the state was engaged in the harvest, further lessening the likelihood of clashes.

Fighting has subsided in Tonj East between the Luanyjang and a subsection of the Jalwau (Adoor), after a series of intense clashes over disputes over toic—seasonal grazing land—and intermittent cattle raiding that occurred at the beginning of the year. In February 2023, some 143 people were killed in incidents on the border with Rumbek North county, Lakes state, and the SSPDF moved into the area to suppress further clashes. While much of Warrap state is now relatively peaceful, conflict continues, however, between the Noi section—that of Aleu, which is closely linked to the Atok, the subsection of Akol Koor—and the Ajak Leer of Kirrik payam, with almost 200 head of cattle being raided from the Noi on 17 August 2023. The Noi retaliated by abducting four women from Kirrik payam shortly thereafter. The Tonj North county commissioner then attempted to intervene and resolve the issue by asking the Noi youths to return the three remaining abductees (one was killed during the abduction). The youth demurred, and asked about their stolen cattle, leading to a stand-off in which one of the commissioner’s officers was shot. The matter was finally resolved through the intercession of customary authorities, but it is once again indicative of the difficulties that the state has in intervening in intercommunal conflict, given its perceived lack of neutrality.