United Nations Sudan Situation Report 17 Mar 2005

Key Developments:

An African Union led assessment team arrived in Khartoum today having completed their week long assessment of peacekeeping requirements in Darfur. Following meetings with UNAMIS, the team, which included representatives from the UN and donor countries, will return to Addis Ababa to complete their joint report over the coming days.

Security Issues:

North Darfur: On 15 Mar., a group of armed tribesmen reportedly killed two people and injured three during an attack on the village of Jabr, located 10 km west of Korma and 90km northwest of El Fasher. In other areas of North Darfur however, the general security situation remains relatively calm.

South Darfur: Several agencies reported violence in the village of Totaraan, north of Saniafandu on 15 Mar. with several injured civilians reportedly checking into a nearby health post to seek treatment from injuries incurred during the attack (no further details available).

On 16 Mar., armed groups in Marla reportedly set fire to some properties in the area in advance of the full-time deployment of AU monitors to the area.

West Darfur: UN agencies operating in areas west of the Wadi Azom continue to restrict their movements to El Geneina town due to security concerns until further notice. Some INGOs have however started to move out to areas beyond El Geneina but are not moving to locations north of El Geneina town. The situation is being carefully monitored to gauge the possible impact on relief operations.

On 13 Mar., gunmen on horse and camel ambushed a civilian vehicle at Tarmo, 20 km north of Zalingei towards Abatta town. One person was reportedly killed and five were wounded during the incident (no further details available).

Protection Issues:

North Darfur: During a meeting between AU civilian police and the Protection Working Group to discuss interventions to improve protection of IDPs in camps, the AU indicated that a team of AU civilian police travelled to Kutum on 15 Mar. to commence operations in the area.

West Darfur: On 13 Mar., three women and one men who were travelling out of Hessa Hissa camp on the outskirts of Zaleingi town to fetch firewood were reportedly abducted by nomads and reported back to the camp on the next day (no further details available). It was previously reported that the AU presence in the area had significantly decreased the number of protection incidents, however, in this case, AU officials were not present, as they had to attend to other missions.

Humanitarian Affairs:

North Darfur: Following the completion of general food distributions in Abu Shouk, Kutum town and Kassab, distribution is now moving to Kebkabiya and areas south of El Fasher. However, food distribution in Malha has been delayed due to the lack of reliable SLM/A interlocutor for notification procedures. Further, agencies report that the lack of food assistance in more remote, rural locations is prompting some of the inhabitants of the area to move towards camps and other food distribution points.

South Darfur: The WFP national implementing partner, Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS), successfully completed registration of beneficiaries in Ed Daein locality on 13 Mar. Another batch of registrations was carried out by the Norwegian Church Aid (NRC) on 16 Mar., in Sania Deleba and El Miram using the WFP/IOM procedures.