During the civil war the largely Nuer 'White Army' emerged out of the cattle camps in central and eastern Upper Nile to defend cattle and community property at local level. Membership was always fluid and was based on being a civilian—mostly from the Lou-, Gawaar-, and Jikany Nuer as well as the Duk clan of the Dinka—and owning a modern weapon. The loosely controlled 'army' (which was really a collection of many separate forces) had the ability to bring large numbers of armed men together for specific purposes with the cattle camps serving as its nucleus. Initially these heavily armed groups were closely linked to local communities and responsible to traditional authorities but over time these structures broke down and power passed to local youths.
Following the 1991 split in the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), White Army members became involved in the civil war, fighting on one side or the other depending on levels of support. Following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement
in 2005, the army was seen as a possible threat to the fledgling Government of South Sudan. During a forcible disarmament campaign led by the SPLA in Jonglei State in 2006, several hundred Lou Nuer youths were killed. Local communities have since rearmed and continue to be at the centre of Jonglei's ongoing insecurity.
Relevant Tables, Maps, and Summaries
Relevant HSBA Publications