Bentiu, also spelled Bantiu, is a city in South Sudan and capital of the state of Unity State.

Part of the UN's refugee camp in Bentiu.
Part of the UN's refugee camp in Bentiu.
Bentiu is located in South Sudan
Location in South Sudan
Coordinates: 9°15′36″N 29°48′00″E / 9.26000°N 29.80000°E / 9.26000; 29.80000Coordinates: 9°15′36″N 29°48′00″E / 9.26000°N 29.80000°E / 9.26000; 29.80000
Country South Sudan
StateUnity State
CountyRubkotna County
347 m (1,138 ft)
 (2010 est.)
 • Total6,508 (plus 120,000 in the surrounding refugee/IDP camp)
Time zoneUTC+2 (CAT)


Bentiu is located in Rubkona County, Unity State,[1] in northern South Sudan, near the international border with the Republic of the Sudan. It lies approximately 654 kilometers (406 miles), by road, northwest of Juba, the capital and largest city in the country.[2] Bentiu sits on the southern bank of the Bahr el Ghazal River that separates it from the town of Rubkona, which sits on the river's northern bank. The two towns are joined by the El Salaam Bridge that spans the river.[3] This bridge, along with a market, was bombed and partially damaged by North Sudanese MiG-29 bomber airplanes on April 23, 2012, during the Heglig Crisis.[4] At least three people were killed in the raid.[5]


As of 2006, the population of Bentiu including entire Rubkona County Payams was estimated at about 100,230.[6]


The town was the administrative, political and commercial center of Unity state before its reorganisation in 2015 into the three new states of Ruweng, Southern Liech, and Northern Liech, the latter of which is its current location.[7] The state governor maintains the headquarters of the state in the town, however the county headquarters for Rubkona County are situated in the town of Rubkona, across the river.

During the South Sudanese conflict that began in December 2013, the national government lost control of the town to a commander loyal to former vice president Riek Machar, although Machar denied this.[8][9] Violence in the area continued, and on January 17, 2014, a United Nations official was quoted as saying that the town “simply did not exist anymore”, and that “it was completely burnt down”.[10] In April 2014, hundreds of Bentiu civilians were massacred by the “Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition Army” led by Machar.[11]

United Nations Protection of Civilians Site BentiuEdit

In December 2014, between 40,000 and 50,000 people lived in Bentiu's refugee/IDP camp, located outside the ransacked town of Bentiu, and Doctors Without Borders had begun to provide medical services.[12]

A 2015 survey indicated that Nuer was the preferred language for radio and news in the camp.[13]

By 2016, the camp was considered the largest refugee camp in South Sudan, and over 120,000 people had sought refuge there to escape fighting. Conditions in the camp were especially difficult in the dry season, when temperatures can reach 115 degrees Fahrenheit.[14] Additional wells were drilled to increase the available water supply, with the assistance of the Groundwater Relief charitable organization.[15]

In 2018, a tree nursery pilot project was implemented for the camp, by the International Organization for Migration South Sudan, with support from the USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and the European Commission Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, using "local trees such as mango, guava, neem, dinkipesha, ban, keer, meth, lemon, bannes, powpow, dhuras, chokas, etc."[16]

In November 2018, Doctors without Borders reported that a series of shocking attacks had occurred, against 125 women and girls who were walking to a food distribution center in Bentiu.[17][18] On December 20, the Government of South Sudan said "claims of sexual attacks on more than 150 women and girls outside Bentiu in Northern Liech State are unfounded and baseless."[19] The United Nations Mission in South Sudan deployed a human rights team to the area to investigate allegations of 150 rapes, added patrols for additional protection, and began clearing brush and vegetation from roadsides to deter attackers.[20]



A typical street in Bentiu

After the destruction during the Second Sudanese Civil War, infrastructure in and around Bentiu is now being rebuilt. The projects that have been rehabilitated, constructed, or restored include the following:

  1. Bentiu Airport - located just north of Rubkona, opposite Bentiu on the Bahr el Ghazal River
  2. Bentiu Civil Hospital - donated and constructed by the China National Petroleum Corporation
  3. Bahr el Ghazal River - redredged to allow barges free passage
  4. Rubkona New Market - largest source of fresh produce for both towns
  5. Bentiu water treatment plant - "rehabilitated and upgraded" in May 2016.[23]


Bentiu is also the location of the planned Western Upper Nile University, a promise by the state's education officials to speed up the higher education system in what was then Unity state. Bentiu has three primary schools and two secondary schools. These schools were teaching in Arabic before 2005, and as of 2011, English is being taught.[24]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Northern Liech state mourns death of spiritual leader". Sudan Tribune. 1 May 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Distance between Bentiu (Al Wahdah) and Juba () (Airport) (Sudan)".
  3. ^ "Embattled South Sudan's Bentiu emerges from war - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan".
  4. ^ "Sudan MiGs bomb market in South Sudan - CBS News". Archived from the original on 2012-04-24.
  5. ^ Hereward Holland, "Sudan bombs South Sudan border area, kills three: witnesses", Reuters, April 23, 2012. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  6. ^ "City (town) Bentiu: map, population, location".
  7. ^ "New decree creates ethnic enclaves for Nuer". Radio Tamazuj. 2 October 2015. Archived from the original on 22 February 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Fears grow of civil war in South Sudan as rebels seize town".
  9. ^ "Defected Unity state army commander forms new interim administration –". Sudan Tribune. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  10. ^ "S Sudan: 'Horrifying human rights disaster'". Washington Post. Associated Press. 17 January 2014. Archived from the original on 17 January 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  11. ^ "An 'Abomination:' Slaughter in the Mosques and Churches of Bentiu, South Sudan –". Washington Post. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  12. ^ VOA, Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu, December 22, 2014.
  13. ^ "Bentiu UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) site - Unity State, South Sudan - Information Needs Baseline: September 2015" (PDF). Internews Humanitarian Information Service. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  14. ^ Beaubien, Jason (May 25, 2016). "Five Days And Five Nights With Doctors Without Borders". Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  15. ^ "Protect Your Groundwater Day: Groundwater Relief and the Bentiu POC Camp". SEEQUENT. 4 September 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  16. ^ "From seedling to shade, planting trees in the Bentiu PoC site". International Organization for Migration South Sudan. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  17. ^ Mednick, Sam (2018-12-01). "125 women, girls raped, whipped and clubbed in South Sudan". AP News. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  18. ^ "Unknown gunmen rape 125 women in South Sudan: aid agency". Reuters. 2018-11-30. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  19. ^ "Reports about sexual attacks in Bentiu are false: South Sudanese government". Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan. December 20, 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  20. ^ "South Sudan: UN condemns 'brutal' sexual assaults on roads to Bentiu". UN News. 2018-12-03. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  21. ^ "Embattled South Sudan's Bentiu emerges from war - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan".
  22. ^ The Oil Infrastructure of Sudan And South Sudan
  23. ^ deVries, Nina (7 July 2017). "Restored water treatment plant gives Bentiu Town new hope". UNICEF South Sudan. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  24. ^ sudanfaces (8 January 2011). "TOMORROW IS THE BIG DAY!".

External linksEdit