A Jie warrior with scars designed to look like AK-47s. He and his friend prepare for battle with the neighboring Murle tribe. Previous generations had scars representing wild animals and abstract symbols of power. Now, guns and satellite phones are common showing how deeply guns have become a symbol and tool for holding onto power.
Credit: Trevor Snapp
  • James Kumen a young district administrator stands in the compound where he sleeps in Jonglei state South Sudan. Armed only with a credit-less satellite phone and a university education he is responsible for administering dozens of remote hamlets and villages. Because the government has nearly no presence in much of South Sudan, it is almost impossible to stop conflicts between tribes from happening.
    Credit: Trevor Snapp
  • A woman fills up water from the river that runs by Pibor as dry season begins. The town was overrun by Lou Nuer warriors in recent weeks forcing the town's inhabitants to flee to the bush.
    Credit: Trevor Snapp
  • Murle boys fish in a river near Pibor. With little access to education or the outside world, and few advocates in South Sudan's capital Juba, the Murle continue to feel marginalized in their new country.
    Credit: Trevor Snapp
  • A Jie man allegedly stabbed by a group of Murle after a night of drinking in Jonglei state, South Sudan. Tradition calls for a man killed "on the way" to be left in the bush and not buried. If the guilty are not found tradition then calls for an innocent person "on the way" to be killed in revenge. Such revenge killings often unleash small but long-lasting wars between tribes across South Sudan.
    Credit: Trevor Snapp
  • A Murle woman rests after she was operated on by Merlin staff. She was shot in the elbow as she was entering her house with her children. The police suspect she was shot by people seeking to avenge the death of one of their tribe in Jonglei state, Southern Sudan.
    Credit: Trevor Snapp
  • The hand of a Murle woman shot in the elbow as she was entering her house with her children. The police suspect she was shot by Jie people trying to avenge the death of one of their tribe in Jonglei state, South Sudan. Revenge attacks between the Nuer, Murle, Dinka, Jie and other tribes of Jonglei state have made the region one of the most dangerous in the world.
    Credit: Trevor Snapp
  • An SPLA gunsmith salvages guns seized during government disarmament campaigns. Over 30,000 guns have been taken since the peace agreement, however 1.9 to 3.2 million guns remain in civilian hands, according to estimates. Disarmament in South Sudan has been an expensive failure.
    Credit: Trevor Snapp
  • The decorated AK-47 of a Murle warrior in Jonglei state, South Sudan. The gun is a critical tool for survival in the post conflict society of South Sudan. Without a gun males are not respected as men, and cannot defend their families from raiders.
    Credit: Trevor Snapp
  • A Jie warrior with scars designed to look like AK-47s. He and his friend prepare for battle with the neighboring Murle tribe. Previous generations had scars representing wild animals and abstract symbols of power. Now, guns and satellite phones are common showing how deeply guns have become a symbol and tool for holding onto power.
    Credit: Trevor Snapp
  • Warriors from the Jie tribe guard their village in Jonglei state, South Sudan. Young men in their teens and twenties defend their villages against attacks and raid other tribes to get the cattle necessary to marry.
    Credit: Trevor Snapp
  • Children from the Murle tribe herd a cow with traditional markings back to their camp during dry season. Cattle are South Sudan's second most important resource and valued as wealth by owners. The cattle help South Sudan's people to survive in the country's harsh climate. But conflicts over cattle have caused thousands of deaths since the 2005 peace agreement.
    Credit: Trevor Snapp
  • Akul Nadai a Murle women tends to her cattle at dusk in a remote cattle camp in Jonlgei state, South Sudan. For many South Sudanese tribes, cattle are the most important thing on earth and worth dying for. This has caused persistent conflict and clashes.
    Credit: Trevor Snapp
  • A Murle woman holds a sick child in Jonglei state, South Sudan, which is suffering from severe food insecurity. This mother has to share her herd's milk with calfs, and is unable to feed all of her children daily. Many people in South Sudan live hungry for many months of the year during the dry season. Food insecurity increases conflicts over scarce resources.
    Credit: Trevor Snapp
  • Women wait for help in the Pibor clinic run by Doctors Without Borders, virtually the only NGO operating in Pibor. Other towns of similiar size have dozens of NGOs working on development projects, but the instability and remoteness of Pibor has brought few peace dividends to the Murle people.
    Credit: Trevor Snapp
  • A young Murle man recovers in a clinic run by Doctors Without Borders in Pibor after being beaten up by a different peer group. In Murle culture generational groups constantly fight for dominance. In the past they used sticks, but today they can use guns against their own tribe. The Murle culture has become increasingly violent after decades of war and easy access to guns, elders say.
    Credit: Trevor Snapp
  • General Joshua Konyi a Murle stands with four Lou Nuer and Dinka children he is helping return to their families after they were abducted by Murle warriors. Although the South Sudan government is making an effort to halt child abduction in Jonglei state, the problem is too widespread to stop completely, say experts.
    Credit: Trevor Snapp
  • The parents of a young Nuer boy abducted by the Murle tribe is washed by his parents hours after being returned by the government. The aftermath of child abductions are responsible for increasing violence, especially in Jonglei state. Currently the Nuer hold hundreds of Murle children hostage. They are demanding the return of their children and claim the Murle have abducted thousands of their children over the last decade which the Murle raise as their own.
    Credit: Trevor Snapp

Related Stories

Tagged:
Africa