Temperature variations in South Sudan between 1997 and 2009 are correlated with strained natural resources, especially water.
The Didinga and Toposa have a history of cattle raiding and disputes over land and water. In 2007, violence renewed between both groups after a peaceful two year hiatus, partly due to temperature anomalies and an increased competition over scarce land and water resources.
Violence broke out again when a Didinga group was attacked by Toposa cattle raiders. At least 54 people were killed during the attack.
Cattle raiding and disputes over land and water have plagued the Didinga and Toposa in the past. After the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Government of Sudan in 2005 relations have improved and the two years following the signing of the peace agreement have been peaceful. However, in 2007 violence broke out again when a Didinga group was attacked by Toposa cattle raiders. At least 54 people were killed during the attack, including 48 women (The Didinga Community, 2007; UCDP, 2015).
One reason for the renewed violence between Toposa and Didinga can be seen in increasing competition over scarce resources, mainly grazing land and water. Maystadt et al. identified temperature anomalies as an important factor exacerbating this situation (Maystadt et al., 2014). From 1997 to 2009, high temperature deviations from the historical mean were found to correlate with an increased frequency of local conflicts in North and South Sudan (UNHCR, 2014; Maystadt et al., 2014).
Another factor contributing to the outbreak of violence in 2007 was the enrolment of many Didinga men in the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, leaving the Didinga community unable to defend itself against Toposa attacks. A factor further compounded by the lack of adequate police protection in Didinga areas (The Didinga Community, 2007).
In 2013 the Didinga and Toposa reached a peace agreement and vowed to end hostility (Nakimangole, 2013). In March 2014 a second peace conference was organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the East Equatorian State Government, which was attended by leaders of both groups. During the peace talks, cattle raids were condemned and the state government agreed to deploy police personnel into the area (UNMISS, 2014). Since then hostilities between Toposa and Didinga have ceased.