1. This month has seen significant progress in achieving a joint GoS and SPLA mine action strategy and the continuation of operational planning at the field level.
2. The Machakos Talks have gone into recess for the Ramadan/Christmas period and will resume in early January. It is hoped that an agreement for an early general ceasefire will be achieved and this will bring increased and immediate need for mine assessment and clearance of hither unto inaccessible routes. Preliminary operational planning for such requirement is now in an advanced stage and funding pledges are required to ensure that the necessary resources will be available and able to deploy in the short timeframe required to best support the demand for increased humanitarian access.
Recent Mine-strike Incidents
3. A mine strike occurred on the 16 December involving a non-OLS vehicle hitting a suspected anti tank mine on the Lokichoggio-Kapoeta road in the vicinity of Naknak. A truck from a private contractor to the SPLA was moving northeast along this route when it detonated the mine with its rear right wheel; the vehicle was disabled and the driver and passengers suffered light injuries.
4. The vehicle was part of a convoy and was manoeuvring around a collapsed piece of road due to recent heavy rains. As the vehicle manoeuvred around this obstacle it is was reported as sliding sideways into the verge of the road, where the right rear wheel detonated an explosive device.
5. Numerous anti tank mines have been removed from this area in the recent past and this incident serves to highlight the continued mine hazard along this road and the immediate need for ongoing mine assessment and preparation to conduct clearance should the Machakos Process result in a general ceasefire.
National Mine Action Strategy
6. Under the terms of the recently signed MOU, the UN will seek to help both parties to jointly develop a national mine action strategy that meets the immediate needs of the emergency humanitarian situation and plans ahead to post conflict Sudan. The signing of this MOU coincides with the Programme moving into the Consolidation Phase and a Detailed Plan is now prepared that will describe activities during this Phase and concentrate on the operational requirements of the MOU.
7. This Detailed Plan has been prepared in full consultation and with the co-operation of both the GoS and SPLA and will finalised during January.
8. At the request of both parties and to establish equity, build trust and confidence on both sides and ensure that all Mine Action activities are developed in accordance with the principal of Sudanese Ownership and to ensure that an element of joint planning and combined resolution of potential conflict issues may be achieved, a three person technical and operational liaison team has been established. This consists of the technical focal point individuals from both GoS and SPLM counterpart bodies and the UN STA.
9. The Humanitarian Aid Commission, formally an entity of the GoS Ministry for International Co-operation has now been reorganised as a ministry in its own right and a representative appointed to work within the National Mine Action Office (NMAO). A representative of the SCBL is also now formally assigned to the NMAO and the UN STA will work closely with both.
10. The Information Management System for Mine Action is now installed and available in South Sudan and previously gathered data is currently being entered. The System will be located in the Rumbek, Mine Action Co-ordination Office and will be exclusive to SPLM controlled areas.
11. The joint OCHA/UNMAS office in Rumbek is now under construction and will be complete next month.
12. The Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) evaluation/accreditation area in Kadugli is now complete and the mines laid therein will now lay fallow until mid February when formal Accreditation of EDD teams may commence.
13. On the 09 December, Graeme Abernethy, and Dave McIvor were working at the EDD Accreditation area, near Kadugli, with a team of local contractors. At approximately 1030hr a bus-travelling north tipped over and caught on fire.
14. Both UN personnel rushed to the accident scene and after making an initial assessment, used their Thuraya phones to call for assistance. They took charge of the accident scene and assisted many passengers to escape from the burning bus. JMC monitors and medics soon arrived and arranged for injured people to be ferried to the local hospital in Kadugli.
Sudan Landmine Information Response Initiative (SLIRI)
15. Currently non-operational.
Landmine Action-UK (LMA)
16. Currently non-operational.
Dan Church Aid (DCA)
17. A key meeting between DCA and their Sudanese implementing partners, both GoS and SPLA, was held in Um Sibda on 2 December. Of major interest was the discussion of the actual implementation of the joint training, deployment and peace-building component of their initiative. The success of this discussion now enables DCA to fully commence all activities and they are expected to be operational in early January. A small team of Kosovo Albanian deminers has been deployed temporarily to enable the EDD Teams to start work whilst local personnel are selected and trained. Personnel for GoS areas will be supplied by JASMAR and in SPLA areas by OSIL.
18. As a result of the current Cessation of Hostilities, and in anticipation of a Machakos initiated general ceasefire, WFP are making advanced plans to access more areas via road. Many of the key routes are suspected to be mined and will require extensive mine survey/assessment.
19. WFP may have funding available to implement this and, in consultation with the STA, are discussing suitable options with an International NGO, the Swiss Federation for Demining (SFD)
Mine Risk Education (MRE)
20. The aim of the MRE programme is to integrate MRE wherever possible into prioritisation, marking and clearance process, as well to ensure that the MRE component is integrated into IMSMA. In accordance with this objective the following activities occurred this month:
a. The UN MRE co-ordinator and IMSMA Officer organized IMSMA presentation for the MRE partners in order to familiarise them with the database and be aware of the importance of proper use of the relevant IMSMA forms.
b. The Dangerous Area Report, Incident Report and Victim Report, have now been simplified and translated into Arabic for the use of the MRE teams. The training on how to use these forms will be organized in the second half of the January 2003.
c. MRE coordination at Khartoum level is now fully established and the MRE-Advisory Group is currently in Nuba Mountains to initiate MRE coordination meetings at state level.
d. The ToR for the MRE needs assessment/ analysis is now in its final draft. Suggested areas to commence are Nuba Mountains, Juba and Kassala State.