Conflicts between armed cattle keepers from Dinka Bor and the local population of Kajo-keji broke out on 2nd February 2023. They resulted into loss of lives and displacement of the civilian population from Kansuk Payam, Lire Payam – Likamerok Boma, Mondikolok, Liwolo and part of Kangapo 2 – Bori and Kinyiba Bomas to Kajo-keji town and the surrounding locations. Some 19,750 people (5,200 households) were displaced to six sites in the county and 27 people including two women from the host community were killed and several others wounded.
An interagency needs assessment was conducted to determine the urgent needs and protection concerns. The findings indicate that out of some 19,500 displaced, over 14,500 IDPs are women and children who fled without any goods or food. Houses and household items were burnt, especially in Nyepo Payam (Gederu and Kansuk), while farms/gardens were destroyed by the cattle which is the genesis of the conflicts. The IDPs expressed fear to return to their homes alleging that some of the cattle keepers still come around to search for lost cattle.
The protection situation is still fragile, safety and security remain a main concern given that, despite Government orders, cattle keepers continue to linger in the area, moving from location to location. Their presences in the vicinity of Kajo-Keji towards Kayaya River still pose threat especially on Juba – Kajo-Keji road and Kajo-keji – Morobo – Yei Road. There are no apparent indications of revenge attacks, however there is high possibility that the youth will organize themselves for defense purpose.
Access to Kajo-Keji for humanitarian actors from Yei is through Uganda. To try and mitigate the situation, the Governor of CES had travelled to Yei through the internal road (Kajo-Keji – Morobo – Panyume road) in an attempt to reopen the road but clearance for humanitarians is still pending. This might have negative impact by raising the prices of goods in Kajo-Keji. On a positive note, a convoy from Juba led by the Logistics Cluster was able to arrive.
The population in Kajo-Keji is mainly comprising of South Sudanese former refugee returnees from Uganda who started to prepare for the next farming season.
The most likely mid term impact of the incident will be reflected in the inability of the local communities to prepare for the next farming season and the mental health impact of loss of life and livelihoods as well as physical and moral wellbeing. In the longer term, food security situation will be challenging in 2022 and 2023, which may prompt some to opt to cross back to refugee camps in Uganda.