- The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2429 (2018) , by which the Council extended the mandate of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) until 30 June 2019 and requested me to report every 90 days on its implementation. The report provides an update on and analysis of the conflict, the political situation and the operational environment in Darfur for the period from 11 June until 3 October 2018. It proposes benchmarks and indicators for the eventual exit of the mission, outlines the main challenges to the effective implementation of the mandate and provides an update on the progress made by UNAMID in implementing the recommendations contained in the special report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the strategic review of UNAMID (S/2018/530).
II. Conflict analysis
- The security situation in Darfur remained relatively stable, with the exception of intermittent clashes that continued between Government forces and the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW) mainly in the western and southern Jebel Marra area. While incidents of intercommunal conflict remained low, there was a marginal increase in the number of fatalities from the clashes, as compared with the previous reporting period. Disputes between herders and farmers, in particular internally displaced persons and returnees, over land and resources persisted. The Darfur peace process remained stalled, and the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur continued to be slow, despite ongoing efforts to revitalize the process.
Fighting between forces of the Government of the Sudan and armed groups
Sporadic clashes continued during the reporting period as Government forces kept up pressure on SLA-AW in an effort to eliminate its remaining elements in the Jebel Marra. At the same time, the onset of the rainy season slowed the advance of Government forces, with SLA-AW using this to conduct some counter-attacks. The Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi (SLA-MM) and the Gibril Ibrahim faction of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM-Gibril) remained inactive in Darfur. On July the Government extended its unilateral ceasefire until 31 December 2018, with SLA-MM, JEM-Gibril and the Sudan Liberation Movement-Transitional Council (SLM-TC) extending their ceasefire on 8 August until 7 November 2018. SLA-AW also declared a three-month unilateral ceasefire from 20 September to December 2018 to allow unhindered humanitarian access to the areas affected by landslides in the Jebel Marra.
Clashes were recorded along the Tarantara-Gur Lumbung axis in southern Jebel Marra, where fighting has occurred since March. From 13 to 16 June, Government forces resumed attacks on SLA-AW positions in the area, with clashes lasting for several days and leaving 16 soldiers and three SLA-AW fighters dead. Reports were received of villages being burned, civilians being injured and killed, as well as people being displaced to nearby areas, which could be only partially verified.
Another set of clashes took place in the areas around Golo, Centra l Darfur, where the continuing presence of SLA-AW elements prompted the Government to deploy additional troops on 9 July. On 19 July, SLA-AW ambushed government forces near Deba Nyra, north of Golo, killing 4 soldiers and injuring 10. On 26 July, the Sudan ese Armed Forces attacked a SLA-AW position in Komi village, east of Golo, arresting suspected SLA-AW informants and subsequently firing artillery south and south-east of Golo on 30 July and 2 August. On 30 July, SLA-AW attacked government forces in Wadi Toro, Karo and Mara villages, south-east of Golo, as well as the Sudanese Armed Forces checkpoint at Sabanga on 7 August.
Elsewhere in the Jebel Marra, on 28 June, Government forces attacked Boulay, the main SLA-AW stronghold in norther n Jebel Marra, taking control of the area by early July. Unconfirmed reports were received of Rapid Support Forces attacking and looting Kebe, South Darfur, on 27 July, allegedly targeting local support for the rebels. Five Fur civilians were reportedly killed, among them one woman, and four were injured, including one woman and two children, and an unknown number of civilians were displaced into the surrounding villages. In western Jebel Marra on 29 and 30 July, SLA-AW attacked Golol, which had recently been captured by Government forces, but was unable to regain this strategic location. On 1 August, unverified reports were received of Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces soldiers targeting local support for SLA-AW by assaulting residents of Tarantara, Kawara, Kaiya and Kuilla villages in southern Jebel Marra, which were taken by Government forces in May and June. On 26 August, the Government clashed once again with SLA-AW, in the Gubbo area of southern Jebel Marra, leaving one soldier and two SLA-AW fighters dead and one civilian injured. From 16 to September, another encounter in Gubbo reportedly left 16 Rapid Support Forces soldiers and 6 SLA-AW dead, as well as 37 Rapid Support Forces and 5 SLA-AW injured. Civilians displaced to Kass reported that 10 civilians had been killed in the incident. From 20 to 21 September, Sudanese Armed Forces reportedly attacked SLA-AW positions in Sabun Fag, Gur Lumbung, Kuilla and Amrain South Darfur, with three SLA-AW members killed and one injured.