SUDAN WATCH: UN Sudan Situation Report 26 April 2005

Thursday, April 28, 2005

UN Sudan Situation Report 26 April 2005

Here is the situaton report by UN personnel in Sudan for April 26, 2005.

Key developments

On 25 April, a driver of an INGO was abducted and his vehicle taken by armed men on the road between Kutum and El Fasher north Darfur.

25 April, humanitarian agencies reported an attack on a village near Um Sauna some 15 kms north of Muhajarija, S. Darfur, sparking displacement into Kalma camp.

On 26 April the AU dispatched a helicopter to evacuate several seriously injured civilians from Abu Soroug in the Silea/Kulbus area of W. Darfur following fighting which occurred on the night of 26 April, reportedly between the NMRD and unidentified militia elements. The AU is set to investigate further.

Political Affairs:

Although suffering from delays, some headway has been made with GoS-SPLM/A efforts to implement the CPA this past week. While the National Constitution Review Commission (NCRC) did not hold its first meeting on 23 April as initially forecast, both parties have nominated their delegates to the NCRC which is now expected to start meeting later this week.

On Darfur, the AU is actively seeking to revive the political peace process. PDSRSG Zerihoun met with the AU team mediation team in Addis Ababa and in Khartoum. A meeting with concerned partners is scheduled to take place before the formal resumption of the talks, now forecast for late May.

The situation in Universities in several locations in Sudan remains tense. El Fasher University, North Darfur, has witnessed an increased National Security presence on the campus.

Military:

The recent continued arrival of SHIRBRIG Staff Officers into the FHQ will allow the UNMIS Operation branch to move toward addressing the detailed planning required for the Relief of Forces operation with VMT and JMC. Final withdrawal of VMT will depend upon the state of our deployment. The planning date currently remains as it is in the OpO - M+90.

The Rwandan TCC Reconnaissance Team completed their visit on 21 Apr 05 with the Force Commander's De-Brief. Due to the current fluid nature of the deployment plus the fact they will be deploying after the Italian Contingents' tour of duty, detailed planning is yet to take place. The Italian TCC Reconnaissance is due to take place 27 Apr - 2 May 05.

The Egyptian Sector Commander, together with the previous Egyptian reconnaissance team's Team Leader arrived in Mission to receive briefings and visit the deployment areas of Sector IV ( Nuba Mountains ) on 24 April.

UN police:

Induction of new personnel, training and establishment of HQ and Forward HQ will dominate activity for several weeks to come. The priority is to establish operational capacity as soon as possible and engage with GoS and SPLM police and other parties involved in police development.

Returns

257 returnees were registered passing through Kosti on 25 April to various locations in south Sudan. Between 12 and 17 April, a total of 797 returnees travelled through Kosti.

On April 24, the HIC completed the final mapping of the proposed new IDP site at Abu Shouk II, N. Darfur, followed by the approval of the Ministry for Urban Planning.

In the Northern Bahr El Gazal region, reports from the Area Coordination office in Malualkon indicate that the number of IDP returnees crossing from the North through Warawar and other entry points in Aweil East County has decreased by approximately 50% since the end of March. This decrease is thought to be linked to arrival of first rains and commencement of the cultivation period, and ongoing food shortage in the area. It is expected that the majority of returnees arriving in April and May will join their families who returned early in the year. The number of newly arriving families is expected to decrease. This trend has predominantly been observed from the Warawar return route due to lack of access to other major entry routes at present. The Field Coordinators are contacting the authorities of the other counties to confirm if it was also recorded at other entry points.

SPLM is reported to be organizing the return of up to 4,000 IDPs from Mabia camp outside Tambura, Equatoria to the GoS-held Raja district in Western Bahr El Ghazal. Area Coordination in Wau is following up on the case of IDPs travelling to/through Wau. OCHA, SRRC and UNHCR conducted an assessment of Mabia IDP Camp from 11 to 13 April and confirmed that the movement of IDPs from the camp is ongoing. According to the authorities in Tambura, about 8,500 IDPs are moving, but the assessment team found that only approximately 4,000 IDPs were ready to move. The IDPs are taking the Mabia-TamburaNamutina-Zangebero-Bili and Mabia-Tambura-Wau routes. A total of 950 IDPs have arrived in Bazia, Eastern Equatoria from Mabia camp as of 10 am today. These IDPs have all been registered. Seventy three IDPs were reported to have fallen ill, mainly with diarreha and malaria, with one child passing away.

In relation to the future demolitions in Mayo camp, it has been reported by the INC that on 7 April, blocks 4, 5 and 6 were marked for destruction. The 16 April Khartoum Monitor newspaper reported a teacher's request to intervene against the demolition of a school which has also been marked.

Last week one International NGO was denied access to El-Salaam camp. In addition, two international NGOs reported an Increase of number of arrests in el-Salaam and Wad elBeshir camps.

Funding shortfalls continue to affect WFP's capacity to respond to food requirements of returnees. As of 11 April, the emergency operation, which targets vulnerable residents, IDPs and returnees, has received US$ 60,239,658 in donations. This is less than 20 percent of the US$ 302,016,466 operational requirements. In tonnage terms, the EMOP has received 60,862 MT, representing 23 percent of the 268,199 MT operational requirements.

ADRA distributed food and NFIs to 58 families travelling today from Kosti to Juba and Malakal. 4,350 kilos of sorghum, 580 kilos of lentils and 638 kilos of oil were distributed. Fifteen families received 9 kilos of Corn Soya Blend, 20 blankets were given to families with very young children and elderly members and each of the 58 families received one plastic sheet.

IDP registration

Organizations are finalizing the plan for conducting the head-count in Abu Shouk, N. Darfur, after it was interrupted at the previous attempt. Meanwhile, GAA is planning headcounts in Malha and Hamra for the month of May, expecting to proceed with counting the Arab damras afterwards.

Negotiations between the local authorities and the responsible humanitarian agencies are ongoing on how to proceed with the registration of the IDP population in Kalma camp, S. Darfur.

WFP and IOM have commenced the training of some 260 volunteers to support in the imminent IDP registration in El Geneina, W. Darfur. Final planning is also taking place for the locations surrounding El Geneina town.

Protection Issues

Two incidents of assisted movement were reported in South Darfur this week. It was unclear whether the movements were voluntary or appropriate as the international community was not informed of the movements prior to their execution. The first occurred on April 18, with 82 families having been offered food, cash, and transport by the Government to move from Kalma Camp in Nyala, South Darfur to Garsila, West Darfur. Within two days of their arrival, all returns IDP's had fled. The second reported movement this week occurred in Gereida, South Darfur included 540 families who were provided with food, transport and cash, and moved to Umbuyum village, southeast of Gereida. Government officials [including the Wali] have refused to discuss the issue. A letter was submitted to the Wali of South Darfur on 21 April expressing the UN's great concern at these developments.

North Darfur:

Humanitarian agencies operating in Kutum area report that the increased patrolling by AMIS in the area ostensibly has caused a decline in attacks on civilians particularly on market days. Recently, the attempted looting by Arab militia of civilians moving towards Kutum for the market day was averted by an AMIS patrol.

On 25 April, the north Darfur protection working group released the report of the inter- agency returns survey which was conducted in North Darfur to determine the factors influencing the voluntary return of IDPs to their places of origin. According to the report, 98% of the IDP households surveyed are currently unwilling to return to their villages of origin, mainly due to insecurity, lack of housing and land.

South Darfur:

At the continued request of humanitarian agencies and the protection working group, AMIS CivPol has taken steps towards establishing a 24-hour presence in the Kalma camp. A site near the NRC office has been identified and approved by the HAC camp management. The building of the CivPol compound is likely to commence immediately.

Zalingei:

On 22/23 April a group of 45 families arrived in Mukjar from Kalma, Rihaid al Birdi, Chad and Dagarousa. Apparently the return was spontaneous with families reporting to have sought towards Mukjar due to inadequate assistance in the areas of departure.

Food/NFIs

Bentiu area received food from WFP distribution for the first time in a long period.

Assessments:

The International Development Relief Board (IDRB), an NGO involved in medical and psychosocial support, is currently visiting North Darfur, assessing the needs for its services. The team visited Abu Shouk camp on 25 April, holding counselling sessions with IDPs. IDRB has expressed its interest in offering psychosocial support to GBV survivors in liaison with other humanitarian actors.

Also in N. Darfur, the Um Kadada inter agency assessment is progressing.

Insecurity:

On 25th April a convoy of two humanitarian organizations travelling from Kutum to El Fasher. N. Darfur, was stopped in Kafod by three unidentified, uniformed armed men. After being ordered to abandon one of the three vehicles, belonging to an INGO, the assailants departed with the vehicle and the driver to an undisclosed destination. At the time of reporting there is now news of the whereabouts of the INGO driver and vehicle, as well as to the identity of the assailants. UNDSS is continuing the investigation. The incident prompted the El Fasher AFSCO to recall to El Fasher two WFP vehicles travelling to Kutum.

Humanitarian agencies report an attack on a village east of Muhajarija, near Um Sauna (border with North Darfur), allegedly carried out by GoS military. One family arrived in Kalma camp, informing humanitarian partners that other IDPs would follow suit following this attack.

On 25 April, four commercial trucks were stopped by suspected Arab militia near the village of Juruf; two were used to barricade the Nyala-El Fasher route while two trucks escaped to Duma alerting the GoS police. When a World Vision vehicle travelling from Manawashi to Duma arrived at the scene it was fired while reversing to escape the roadblock. Not being hit it made it back to Manawashi safely. Later in the day commercial traffic resumed, with the two lorries found abandoned on the side of the road and WVI able to proceed to Nyala.

GoS military gunfire towards areas east of Saniafandu lasted from 00:30 hrs - 01:30 hrs during the night of 24/25 April, using heavy, automatic weapons. The actions were subsequently explained to be efforts to repel an attack, although the accuracy of this has not been verified. On 24 April, heavy gunfire exchange was reported between Marla and Hijer. No injuries sustained are known from either of the episodes. Due to the increased tension in Saniafandu, two INGOs have temporarily relocated away from the area.

The Eastern Front (Free Lions and Beja Congress) are thought to have carried out an ambush ON WHO near Kassala this week, possibly signalling impatience with the peace process, specifically their exclusion from the talks between the GoS and opposition parties.

On the 14th April 2005 a SPLM/A delegation currently in Juba met with the Equatoria Military Area top leadership to explore ways in which to fight the LRA jointly. According to military sources, an agreement had been reached between the Government Forces and SPLM/A to conduct joint operations against LRA until they are pushed across the border to Uganda. However, LRA activity in the area continues.

On 21 April there was an attack by the LRA on Nimule. The attackers numbered about 15 and the raid was repulsed by the SPLA Forces in Nimule. There were 3 fatalities: 2 civilians and one SPLA soldier killed, in the attack but there are no reports of LRA casualties. Humanitarian movement in the area of Nimule was restricted in the following few days due to a pursuit operation conducted by the SPLA/UPDF.

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