Interethnic fighting was a serious problem (see section 1 .g.). The country had more than 81 ethnic groups and a long history of interethnic conflict. Ethnic groups were broadly categorized into the Nilotic (Dinka, Nuer, and Shilluk ethnic groups), Nilo-Hamitic, and the Southwestern Sudanic groups. For these ethnic groups, cattle represented wealth and status, and competition for resources to maintain large cattle herds often resulted in conflict. Longstanding grievances over perceived or actual inequitable treatment and distribution of resources and political exclusion contributed to conflict.
Several interethnic clashes occurred following independence in July, including a cycle of retaliatory attacks between the Murle and Lou Nuer ethnic groups in Jonglei State. Interethnic conflict spread throughout Lakes State with subgroups of the dominant Dinka group, Dinka pastoralists, and Jur Bel agriculturalists fighting for land resources. Interethnic clashes occurred in northeast Lakes State between the Nuer from Unity State and the Dinka in Lakes State. Longstanding tensions in Unity State between the nomadic Misseriya, the Nuer, and the Ngok Dinka communities resulted in a series of violent
confrontations. Following the January referendum on secession, northern Arab groups, including the Misseriya from Southern Kordofan and Abyei Area, migrated into northern Unity State, increasing competition and tension over resources for cattle.
Christians in South Sudan often discriminated against Arabs and Muslims.
Race, Racism and the Law
Vernellia R. Randall
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