Report of the Secretary-General on the Sudan (S/2008/662)

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I. Introduction

1. The present report is submitted pursuant to paragraph 11 of Security Council resolution 1590 (2005), in which the Council requested that it be kept regularly informed of progress in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in the Sudan. The report provides an assessment of the overall situation in the country since my previous report, dated 23 July 2008 (S/2008/485), as well as an update on the activities of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) until 4 October 2008. As requested by the Council, it devotes particular attention to the implementation of the Abyei Road Map Agreement of 8 June (paras. 9-14).

II. Security situation

2. The security situation in the UNMIS area of operations improved during the reporting period. In Abyei the situation stabilized as implementation of the Abyei Road Map Agreement continued. UNMIS freedom of movement was restored in several locations, although the Mission continued to suffer restrictions, particularly in the north of Sector VI. At the national level, the possible indictment of President Omar al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court was a focus for debate, but it had no immediate impact on the security situation in the UNMIS area of operation.

3. In Southern Kordofan, the reporting period saw a decline in reports of inter-ethnic violence. The July nomad migration season ended peacefully, and the parties' agreement to open closed areas in the Nuba Mountains gave further grounds for optimism. However, the build-up of Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) forces in the North-South border area remained a cause for concern.

4. The civilian disarmament programme launched by the Government of Southern Sudan generated tensions in some southern States. On 8 September, eight people sustained gunshot wounds during a disarmament exercise carried out by SPLA in Rumbek. SPLA involvement in the exercise was suspended after local civilians and United Nations staff complained of episodes of assault, intimidation and robbery.

5. Renewed clashes with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) were reported, ending a period of relative calm. On 18 September, suspected LRA elements allegedly attacked an SPLA detachment near Yambio, Western Equatoria. Reportedly, one SPLA soldier and three LRA rebels were killed, villagers abducted and houses looted and burned. Meanwhile, approximately 5,000 Congolese refugees were displaced into the Yambio area, following attacks by alleged LRA elements on the Democratic Republic of the Congo side of the border.