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According to the UN Environmental Program the Murle were in Ethiopia until the 19th century. Some remained there until the 1990s while others were driven west by local Nilotes. They established a homeland in Pibor County, Jonglei State in the 1930s. Since then, environmental pressures have impinged upon their pastoralist lifestyle.

The Murle tribe are commonly accused of abducting children and cattle raiding.

Currently, David Yau Yau, a member of the Murle is fighting the South Sudanese government, allegedly backed by Khartoum. He took up arms against the authorities following the April 2010 general elections in which he lost the race to represent Pibor County at the Jonglei State parliament.

In 2011 he then signed a peace deal. He flip-flopped once again and took up arms against the government in April..

Yau Yau is a member of the Murle ethnic group. There has been scant information from the Murle Diaspora and the Murle in South Sudan on their perspective of the conflict in Jonglei state, unlike the vocal Luo-Nuer who claim that the Murle have been driven to abducting their children as they are suffering from an infertility endemic; a view shared by the country’s president, Salva Kiir.

Little evidence can be found to support the infertility claim. However, the motivation to rationalise the denigration of one of South Sudan’s pariah ethnic groups, in order to legitimise the attribution of blame, is self-evident.


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