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Wau State is one of the 28 states of South Sudan that formed on 2 October 2015. It is located in the Bahr el Ghazal region, and was part of the former state of Western Bahr el Ghazal. Wau State borders Aweil State, Gbudwe State, Gogrial State, Lol State, and Tonj State.[2]

Wau State
Location of Wau State in South Sudan
Location of Wau State in South Sudan
CountrySouth Sudan
Number of Counties8
 • GovernorAngelo Taban Biajo[1]
 (2014 Estimate)
 • Total431,230


Before Wau state was formed, its territory was part of the former state of Western Bahr el Ghazal. On 2 October 2015, President Salva Kiir issued a decree establishing 28 states in place of the 10 constitutionally established states.[3] The decree established the new states largely along ethnic lines. A number of opposition parties and civil society groups challenged the constitutionality of the decree. Kiir later resolved to take it to parliament for approval as a constitutional amendment.[4] In November the South Sudanese parliament empowered President Kiir to create new states.[5]

Elias Waya Nyipuoc was appointed as the governor for the state on 24 December 2015.[6] After the outbreak of major clashes between government forces and Fertit militias in 2016, however, Waya was replaced by Andrea Mayan Achor on the orders of President Kiir.[7] Mayan was sacked in September 2017. He was succeeded by Angelo Taban Biajo as governor.[1]


Wau State is located in the Bahr el Ghazal region and it borders Aweil to the north, Gogrial to the northeast, Gbudwe to the south, Lol to the west, and Tonj to the east.[2]


Wau State is ethnically diverse,[8] as it lies on the tribal border between the Dinka and Fertit peoples, who constitute the region's majority.[9] Furthermore, numerous ethnic minorities live in the state, such as Luo,[10][11] Jur Modo/Jur Beli, Balanda Boor/Balanda Bviri,[8][10][11] Ndogo, Keresh,[8] and Nuer.[12]

Law and governmentEdit

The capital of Wau State is the city of Wau. The city of Wau is located on the Jur River in the state, and it is the second largest city in the country with an estimated population of 151,320 people in 2008.[13] Wau, South Sudan has its own airport, and the city is located 650 kilometers (404 miles) from Juba, the capital.[14]

Administrative divisionsEdit

After South Sudan was divided into 28 federated states in 2015, the newly constituted Wau State was divided into eight counties. These counties are Kuarjina County, Roc Roc Dong County, Marial Bai County, Odechy County, Kangi County, Busalia County, Bagari County, and Baili County. Each county also received a county commissioner.[15]


  1. ^ a b "President Kiir swears in three new governors". Radio Tamazuj. 20 September 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Wau State". Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Kiir and Makuei want 28 states in South Sudan". Radio Tamazuj.
  4. ^ "Kiir pressured into taking decree to parliament for approval". Radio Tamazuj.
  5. ^ "South Sudan's Kiir appoints governors of 28 new states". Sudan Tribune.
  6. ^ "South Sudan's President appoints 28 Governors, defies peace agreement". South Sudan News Agency. 24 December 2015.
  7. ^ "President Kiir fires Wau state governor". Sudan Tribune. 24 June 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  8. ^ a b c PSI et al. (2014), p. 4.
  9. ^ "South Sudan: Gunfights within Bahr el Ghazal capital". Radio Tamazuj. 27 April 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  10. ^ a b "South Sudan: Civilians killed in Wau fighting". Al Jazeera. 10 April 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  11. ^ a b Michael Atit; John Tanza (10 April 2017). "Gunmen in Government Uniforms Go on Massacre in Wau Town". Voice of America. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  12. ^ "Governor strongly denies Mapel massacre claims". Radio Tamazuj. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  13. ^ "Wau, South Sudan". WolframAlpha. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  14. ^ "Driving Distance from Juba, South Sudan to Wau, South Sudan". TravelMath. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  15. ^ "Wau govt approves creation of 8 new counties". Radio Tamazuj. 26 April 2016. Retrieved 13 August 2016.