The Sixth meeting of the Ceasefire Joint Military Committee (CJMC) was held on 19 July in Juba. Force Commander Major-General Akbar chaired the session. The agenda included issues such as forces' structures, assembly areas, redeployment of forces, the planned joint integrated units, mines and child soldiers. The next meeting of the CJMC will take place on 2 Aug. in Juba.
Upon her arrival in Sudan on 20 July, the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, urged increased efforts by Sudan and its neighbouring states to stabilise peace in Sudan and to end what she termed "genocide" in Darfur.
On 18 July, the SLA reportedly looted fuel tankers moving from Khartoum to El Fasher at Kerkera village (approx 45 km NE of El Fasher).
On 20 July, all MoH staff members who were reported missing in North Darfur after the recent polio campaign are accounted for. Five commercially-hired vehicles are still missing.
On 15 July at Dito (approx 94 km SE of Nyala), a vehicle was seized by armed men. The Land Rover was rented by the South Darfur Ministry of Health (MoH), with support from an INGO, for the national vaccination campaign and that the armed group is suspected to be connected to the SLA in Dito.
In the early evening of 17 July, unknown armed men on camelback attacked a convoy of five vehicles travelling from Nyala to Labado, under police escort, at a location three km from the deserted village of Um Zeafa (which is 46 km east of Nyala). One policeman was killed and three others were reported missing. The police in Nyala have confirmed this report.
At his first press conference in Khartoum on 20 July, First Vice-President Garang, stated that he wanted to bring all opposition movements into the national political process. He referred to a meeting he had on 19 July with Popular Congress Party leader, Hassan Turabi, which discussed the inclusion of other groups in the government. Garang also stated that he was working with President Al-Bashir and Vice-President Taha on steps to implement further the CPA. Garang stressed that although the National Congress Party and the SPLM/A would follow the provisions of the Interim Constitution on the question of Abyei, peaceful coexistence of the people of Abyei was important.
On 20 July, the Sudan Media Centre reported that President Al-Bashir had overturned the publishing ban on the Khartoum Monitor.
In Abyei on 20 July, a public demonstration in Al Muglad was held as a protest against the Abyei Boundary Commission report. The demonstration lasted roughly two hours.
UNMIS continued its outreach to members of Darfur's civil society to gauge reactions to the recently signed DoP and the role of the UN in the Darfur states. On 20 July, UNMIS CA met Sultan Yousif Ali Abaker and Omda Abdallah Ali Mohamed of South Darfur's Baigo tribe. They welcomed the DoP and its provisions related to land issues. On the same day, UNMIS CA met the Women's Development Association Network in El Fasher, North Darfur. The representatives of the Network argued for a greater role for civil society, and women in particular, in the negotiations and consultations that lead to agreements such as the DoP.
On 20 July, UNMIS CA met APUJA, an association of Agro-Pastoralists in Juba. Board members indicated that food security was a priority due to the increase of civilians to Juba town, which had lead to a sharp reduction in herds. Prior to the war, most agro-pastoralists owned as many as 500 heads of cattle while now the average owner has only 20-50 heads of cattle. There were few commodities in the Juba markets due to the high price of air transport. This meant much of the community could not make purchases, leading shopkeepers to reduce stock further, thereby increasing prices again. The association was attempting to introduce ox-ploughing to increase acreage so that farmers can produce for subsistence and for the market. The association hoped to introduce new breeds of cows to enhance milk and meat production so that farmers no longer keep livestock just for bride price.
UNMIS CA also met the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC) in Juba on 20 July. The Chairman raised numerous issues of concern, including the threat of landmines, especially for returnees, the spread of HIV/AIDs with people returning from Uganda and Kenya, and the need to disseminate information on the CPA to communities. The SCC also explained that seven tribes in Eastern Equatoria, primarily tribes who have been victimised by the LRA, have begun a series of peace and reconciliation meetings. The SPLM have also discussed the possibility of a comprehensive reconciliation meeting proposed for Nimule with the SCC.
An OCHA mission on 19 July in El Sereif camp reported that 418 new families had arrived since 12 July mainly from Birkatulli (40 km south of Nyala) and Gereida, and that the movement is still ongoing. The movement is attributed to banditry and cattle looting in Birkatulli and fighting between SLA and JEM forces around Gereida at the end of June.
The State's Forestry Department in Nyala has lodged a complaint about Kalma IDPs cutting trees indiscriminately. The GoS police are for now refraining from pressing criminal charges. The humanitarian community will look into long-term solutions, including reforestation activities.
A two-day WHO/UNICEF training course for physicians on the clinical management of SGBV cases started on 20 July in El Fasher.
Cueibet - In follow up to reports from the SRRC of increased food insecurity and an increasing IDP caseload, an inter-agency assessment mission consisting of UNICEF nutrition, WFP, OCHA Area Coordination and SRRC conducted an assessment mission to three locations in Cueibet County: Cueibet town, Abiriu, Abiei Cok. Local enumerators reported 1,837 returnees to the area and 3,108 IDPs. The mission assessed that this was not a new caseload of displaced. They received information that the camps visible in the area along the roadsides were a temporary measure in an attempt to attract international assistance. This was due to misinformation given to the returnees. The mission reiterated that assistance would be provided to host communities and encouraged the returnees to return to their villages.
In terms of food security, the mission was unable to find any confirmed deaths due to starvation and on visiting the Diakonie nutrition centre in Cueibet town, found that there were no visible signs of malnutrition in records among adults and children. However, the mission confirmed that there was a need to have a more in-depth multi-sector assessment in order to ensure that a multi-sectoral response is provided. At present, only food assistance has been given to the vulnerable populations, and there is an urgent need for NFIs. The OCHA Area Coordination office for Lakes will follow up with the local authorities and with NGOs and UN agencies through the Sustainable Returns Team.
Following reports from the Diocese of Rumbek of approximately 2,500 IDPs in Ruac camp (7 km north of Rumbek), OCHA Area Coordination and EP&R visited the site accompanied by an SRRC representative. The mission confirmed the presence of approximately 2,000 IDPs in the area and was informed that the IDPs had left Malek and surrounding villages (Maper, Tiaptiap, and Akot tiak) following inter-clan fighting and cattle raiding between the opposing Gok and Agar Dinka. The conflict began a year ago but has intensified since May and it is estimated that 1463 heads of cattle have been stolen. A first group of 300 IDPs, led by the payam administrator began arriving in Ruac two weeks ago, and the rest of the group followed fleeing insecurity. Choice of the location of Ruac seems to have been driven by proximity to Rumbek. The IDPs are sheltered in approximately 500 makeshift huts and have no jerry cans or cooking pots. A borehole was recently dug by OXFAM, but lack of jerry cans is restricting use. Diocese of Rumbek has provided 10 bags of grain and 1 of pulses, but the IDPs are urgently in need of food assistance. The situation is not yet chronic, but has the potential to deteriorate rapidly if no assistance is provided in the coming weeks. OCHA Area coordination is following up with WFP and UNICEF for the provision of food and NFIs assistance and will also discuss the matter with SRRC.
Northern Bahr el Ghazal:
In a follow up to the inter-agency assessment of Jaac location in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, WFP provided 138 MT of food to 7,527 beneficiaries. CSI and BYDA have distributed 2,000 mosquito nets each among the CEAWC returnees, spontaneous returnees and vulnerable population of Aweil East. Malnutrition rates are still of concern, and Tearfund (who are implementing a nutrition program in Aweil East County) have observed that the malnutrition rate in 2005 has increased to 15.3% from 13% in 2004 and 12% in 2003. However, due to the continuous heavy rains, it is now impossible to travel by land from Malualkon to other locations.
On July 18-19 the Area Coordination Office for the Northern Bahr El-Ghazal undertook a cross-line mission to Aweil Town to identify a location for a future Area Coordination Office there. On 18 July, the Office met the HAC and the acting Governor (Wali) of the Northern Bahr El-Ghazal (GoS). The authorities of Aweil Town are preparing an official document, allocating the plot to OCHA for an indefinite period. According to the authorities and the OCHA staff, there is an agreement both among the outgoing and the new authorities of the Bahr El-Ghazal state to allow the UN Agencies to set up their presence in Aweil Town. According to HAC, an official release of the land should be ready by 22 July.
The humanitarian situation in Lafon remains critical and malnutrition cases are on the rise. According to UNICEF, approximately, 3,169 families (19,014 people), living in seven different villages around Torit are affected by the current food insecurity situation due to poor rains this season, poor water and sanitation conditions and a lack of primary health care service.
In coordination with WHO and MoH, UNICEF will also start an immediate measles campaign to prevent any outbreaks of measles if the crisis is confirmed by the joint assessment team. UNICEF and OCHA are negotiating with other NGOs for possible interventions in Torit.