“Land disputes rage because there is not enough land for all the people who depend upon it to make a living. After the signing of the peace agreement, many people, who’d left the region because of fighting, came home. During war time, tribes who were not considered on the side of rebels moved freely in the region and the authorities gave land to please certain tribes. Many townpeople were given land to farm. Some returnees claim this is their land. Land disputes are happening all over the country and are turning into bloody fighting.”
“Everyone is after power. The rebels haven’t had power in the past, the peace agreement briefly gave them some but now the National Congress Party is in office. At a community level, old tribal chiefs want either to reclaim power or to preserve it. New generations have their eyes on it, so power divides along tribal lines, smaller-community lines, and political movement lines.”
“Local people find themselves living in poverty with high unemployment and huge uncertainty about the future. Nothing else could possibly be expected from a person with no job, no money and no future; when they see people in neighbouring South Sudan and Darfur they see what fruits you can expect by going violent. You start by earning your day’s meal and may end up sitting at a table with a government that bribes anyone with a gun. A small dispute in a local beer parlour may snowball into a bloody fight along community/tribal lines.
Tribal affiliation is like religion in the countryside. You are nothing but a Missariya or Nuba. You join any fight on your tribesmen’s side. Rumours cause tribal fights without anybody pausing to make sure the information is correct. The media is on the side of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), including newspapers that are not allowed to write anything but the press releases of the government spokesperson.
Women used to drum up calls for ‘supporting your tribesmen and showing that you are a man’. Singing and dancing to motivate the young. No more. Women were heavily harmed by the fighting and thousands are lining the streets of cities selling tea to support orphans or children whose fathers have gone away, possibly for good. Everyone is armed. People in the rural areas can only depend on their gun and tribal backing. The little presence of a government authority is only felt inside town (capitals of the states). In the open countryside there is no law and you have to fend for yourself. So everyone must be armed. And arms are getting cheaper and available everywhere, thanks to conflict in Chad and Darfur.”