Late today, all UN personnel operating in the El Geneina area of West Darfur were pulled back into the town itself due to threats of violence made by militia groups against Government police and military forces. NGOs have followed the UN lead and are in the process of withdrawing their staff into the town from outlying regions. UN personnel will remain in the town until further notice.
Today, SRSG Pronk went the Omdurman es Salaam official IDP camp on the outskirts of Khartoum, where he visited a primary health clinic run by MEDAIR and a psycho-social programme for children run by War Child. During both visits, he spoke with residents of the camp about the challenges they are currently facing in the camp, and what needs they will likely have should they decide to return to their places of origin elsewhere in Sudan. He concluded his visit by meeting with community leaders and representatives of community-based organisations at the camp's Sawa Sawa Community Centre where issues surrounding the question of return dominated the discussion.
North Darfur: Despite the generally calm security situation, several security incidents of concern were reported in the past week. On 7 Mar., unidentified gunmen fired two shots at the AU camp in Saraf Umra hitting one of the AU tents. No injuries were reported.
Further, over the course of the week, eight commercial trucks that were travelling to the Kutum area have been detained along with the drivers of the vehicles. Two NGOs had used these trucks to transport fuel and gas and have attempted to collect the goods from the perpetrators during the week with no results (no further details).
During a visit to Kebkabiya on 7 Mar., UNICEF representatives were informed that items including plastic sheeting from the children centre that the agency sponsors had been looted during the last week of Feb. Police and AU monitors are investigating the incident.
South Darfur: The Nyala -- Ed El Fursan road was cleared for UN operations on 7 Mar. On the same day, unidentified gunmen reportedly fired at two commercial vehicles in Dimo, a location 50 km southeast of Nyala while travelling from Nyala to Ed Daein. There were no reported injuries or casualties.
West Darfur: Heavy shooting around Nertiti on 7 and 8 Mar. has been reported by agencies. The number of casualties from the incident is unknown. Day to day activities, including the market, have however resumed.
On 8 Mar., an INGO vehicle was robbed at gunpoint some 41 km out of Geneina while travelling to Mornei camp. Personal items that were looted reportedly included several thousands of Sudanese Dinars and the vehicle's VHF radio equipment.
On 9 Mar., another INGO vehicle was confronted by bandits some ten kilometres from Geneina town while travelling to Mornei. The vehicle was shot at but managed to proceed back to Geneina town.
Areas north of Seleia remain 'no go' for UN agencies due to the tense security situation in the region.
Bahr el Ghazal: The Akoc area remains an area of concern due to reports of movements of armed groups. UN agencies continue to monitor the situation
NGOs operating in the area of Gogrial East and West have recently reported clashes between various Dinka tribes over grazing land in the border between Gogrial East and West.
Upper Nile: Following the re-assessment of the security situation on 3 Mar., Nimne and Bil have been reduced to Phase 2 effective 7 Mar.
North Darfur: The Protection Working Group is discussing the group's participation in the three GoS commissions established following the visit of first Vice President Taha to Darfur in early Feb. The three commissions hope to address issues of judicial inquiry, nomadic routes and compensations connected to conflict in Darfur.
On 9 Mar., SRSG Pronk met with the head of the Joint Military Commission (JMC), BGen. Wilhelmsen to discuss issues related to the planned conversion of the JMC into a component of the anticipated UN peace support operation. The JMC has been monitoring a ceasefire in the Nuba Mountains (South Kordofan) for the past three years, and its functions will be assumed by the UN as part of the peace operation that is expected to deploy in support of the CPA. SRSG Pronk will visit the JMC in Abyei early next week.
UNAMIS visited El Fasher, Darfur between 6 - 9 Mar., as part of preparations prior to deployment in El Fasher, El Geneina, Nyala, and Zalingei. Meetings were held with local authorities, NGOs and tribal leaders. Conditions for return and reconciliation continue to be in the forefront of concerns, and disarmament, rehabilitation of communities and compensation were mentioned as urgent priorities.
North Darfur: Following results from tests on water samples conducted by UNICEF that indicated high percentages of nitrate, thus not appropriate for human consumption, agencies have abandoned Bisharia as a possible site for the relocation of some 25,000 IDPs currently located in Abu Shouk. HAC officials are now looking for alternative sites to present to agencies so that assessments could be conducted.
West Darfur: Mercy Corps reports that it commenced the first distribution of hygiene kits in Hasa Hissa and Shebab camps in Zaleingi on 7 Mar. The agency plans to distribute kitchen sets, floor mats, mosquito nets and plastic sheeting in early Apr. and replenish the items every three months.
Bahr el Ghazal: Concern and Tearfund have commenced supplementary feeding programmes in Aweil East, South, North and West on 1 Mar.
South Darfur: WHO has planned to set up a technical working group by next week to investigate reasons behind the high levels of acute/bloody diarrhoea cases in IDP camps throughout South Darfur despite tremendous efforts to improve water and sanitation services including with regular hygiene promotion campaign. Agencies are also concerned about a reported increase of Hepatitis E and diarrhoea in Kalma camp as well as admission increases in therapeutic feeding centres. Agencies believe that these recent trends can be attributed to increasing temperatures and the recent shortages of water constrained by insufficient trucking capacity. Agencies are further investigating the situation and discussing possible response strategies.
Bahr el Ghazal: The Area Coordination Office in Malualkon conducted an assessment mission with IRC and WFP to Jaac, located in the Malual East payam of Aweil North County following reports of new IDP arrivals from Darfur. The mission found 1,500 IDPs from Darfur in Jaac and its immediate environs who had been arriving in Jaac since Dec. The IDPs were assessed to be in a desperate need of food as well as medical services and NFIs. While a degree of medical and NFI assistance has been provided already, the IRC primary health care centre at Jaac is unable to cope with the number of patients and has to rely heavily on drug supplies from the IRC warehouse in Malualkon. The food security situation of the local community, already suffering from food shortage, has further deteriorated with the influx of these IDPs and urgent food assistance is needed.
Abyei: SCF -- US is planning to start an animal vaccination campaign on 14 Mar. in the Abyei area. The campaign will vaccinate livestock against Rinderpest, Anthrax, Haemorrage Septimicia and PPR (Pleuroneomonia for small ruminants). Currently there is an epidemic of PPR along the central migratory route (Murhal) with a reported high mortality rate among the offspring of goats and sheep. The campaign will cover Golei, Lukki, Alal, Tajlei, Banton and Dambaloya for a period of one week.