Mapping Conflict Motives

Mapping Conflict Motives in South Sudan


The Sudd Institute and the International Peace Information Services (IPIS) are presently studying conflict motives to contribute to intervention and prevention strategies against violence in South Sudan, and to support the country’s transition from fragility through providing a thorough conflict analysis. The study uses the GIS technology to spatially map border conflicts between South Sudan and Sudan. It will provide information about conflict patterns and the motives and behaviour of the different perpetrators of violence.


A better understanding of what causes and motivates conflict is essential for local and international decision-making, policies, and programs in ending the insecurity in the border regions. In order to reduce violence and find peaceful and sustainable solutions to armed violence in the border regions, a clear picture of the security situation is needed. Violence often occurs in areas that are remote and often impassable. Information about conflict events and human rights violations is scarce. No comprehensive, well-researched study exists that outlines conflict drivers, patterns, and trends. Thus, a clear understanding of conflict causes and motives is lacking. Mapping conflict motives study in South Sudan will give insights into the location and pattern of violent incidents and the motivations and behaviour of and differences between its perpetrators.


Two sets of digital maps will be superimposed–one static and the other dynamic. The static maps show geographic elements that could be targets of warring parties present in a certain territory: 


  • Important natural and economic resources, including water, and arable land
  • Ethnic communities, historical and state boundaries
  • Administrative and political centres

The dynamic maps reflect the military actions (military operations and confrontations) undertaken and the human rights abuses committed by warring parties. Superimposing these two sets of maps allows interpreting which targets the conflict parties focus their efforts on, providing important information on their motivations.


Geographic areas of research: Unity and Warrap states.