Dinka and Nuer of South Sudan


The recent conflict in South Sudan involves mainly two ethnic groups, the Dinka and the Nuer. The President, Salva Kiir (an ethnic Dinka), fired his deputy, Riek Machar (an ethnic Nuer), last year. Supporters of these two leaders have clashed for the last five months with over 1 million people internally displaced and 360,000 having fled to neighboring countries, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs report (30 May 2014).

The map below shows the traditional language homelands for the Dinka and Nuer, with locations from the World Language Mapping System (GMI/SIL). Overall, the Dinka make up approximately 35.8% of the population, with the Nuer making up 15.6%. There are many other ethnic groups in the country as well.

The states with the highest numbers of internally displaced people are Jonglei, Unity, Upper Nile, and Lakes states, though every state has a presence of refugees. Many others have fled to neighboring countries with the most refugees in Ethiopia, followed by Uganda, Sudan, and Kenya.

(Sources:  BBC, Economist, OCHA South Sudan, World Factbook)

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