The security situation in Malakal (Upper Nile) remains tense following serious clashes between militia of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the SPLA last month. The security level in Malakal town is at level III and restriction of movement for UN agencies and INGOs remains in effect. The State Government has formed a committee headed by the Minister of Social Development and Deputy Governor to investigate who is behind the crisis and to evaluate the extent of the damage to civilian lives and properties. The Committee started to work on 11 December and has one month to submit its findings to Juba.
The security situation in Juba is also tense as a result of sporadic firing on the weekend of 15 December caused by a number of Joint Integrated Unit (JIU) soldiers protesting against non-payment of their salaries. A curfew was immediately put in place by the authorities and the UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) instructed that all staff of UN agencies and INGOs stay indoors from 19:00 to dawn. The curfew was relaxed on 17 December from 20:00 to dawn.
On a positive note, the peace talks between the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda were seen as on course after the leader of the LRA, Joseph Kony, reiterated his commitment to the talks following the visit by his mother to Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Reportedly, the President of Uganda expressed his willingness to talk to the LRA leadership directly and held a lengthy telephone conversation with one of the LRA leaders. The LRA delegation had earlier walked out of the peace talks following a clash between the LRA and the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) east of Juba.
Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General has appointed a special envoy for the LRA-affected areas, Joaquim Chissano, who is the former President of Mozambique.