.. In Abuja, the six-day workshops on power-sharing, wealth-sharing and security concluded on 24 Sept. The technical workshops were well-attended and informative. Official negotiations will start this week.
On 24 Sept., the town of El Fasher witnessed a military show of force as SAF troops armed with RPGs, AK-47 and 50 cal. machine guns and moving in large trucks, land cruisers, armored scout vehicles and T55 tanks paraded through El Fasher to Abu Shouk IDP camp. The parade ended with a drive-by salute for the Wali and military commanders near the Wali's house. The Wali announced the activation and full implementation of the Emergency Act, which gives full authority to the military and police forces to maintain the security and sovereignty of the state. He also told the armed forces that they should be ready to protect the state and civilians against any rebel attacks.
The security situation around Shangil Tobayi and surrounding villages was reported to be calm except for isolated cases of banditry activities. An incident of banditry was reported on the El Fasher - Nyala road on 23 Sept. in which one person was killed and six injured. Due to the increased banditry in the Tawilla area truck drivers are reluctant to drive in the general area of Tawilla for fear of armed tribesmen and SLA along the road. Armed tribesmen along the road are allegedly collecting 5,000 SD tax from truck drivers.
The El Fasher Security Committee has decided to change the curfew hours in town from 22:00 hrs to 06:00hrs to 21:00 hrs to 6:30 hrs. The change of the curfew appears to be related to rumours about SLA activities in the region.
Regarding clashes in Shaeria on 19 Sept., reports now indicate that one SAF officer was seriously injured, three SAF slightly wounded and 55 soldiers are still missing. It is believed that three SAF convoys that left Nyala on 21 Sept. are heading towards Shaeria. The situation in and around the town remains tense. 30 armed men allegedly entered Shaeria town on 24 Sept. Insecurity is further exacerbated by shootings in the area and the presence of SLA fighters in the camps in the area.
During the night 20-21 Sept., the SLA attacked a SAF military post at Kanzajadeed. The attack was repulsed by the SAF. Reportedly, one SAF soldier was killed and one injured.
An INGO convoy travelling to Dito and Sanalmanaga that went missing on 21 Sept. returned safely to Nyala on 25 Sept. The convoy was composed of five to six cars with 15 national staff and two expatriates.
On 24 Sept., militia are reported to have attacked two villages three km north of Arto. SLA presence was reported in at least one of these villages. The fighting prevented an INGO team from proceeding north on the way to Shearia.
The security situation in Geneina remains tense following the incidents on 19 and 20 Sept. On 24 Sept., Chadians dressed in military uniform were seen in the market. The GoS is attempting to get the situation under control by sending SAF and police patrols in and around the market area. UN Staff is advised to exercise extreme caution and avoid the market area.
Following reports of large-scale displacement following attacks in the Tawilla and Tabit areas, an inter-agency assessment team composed of OCHA, UNJLC, UNICEF, WFP and IOM conducted a rapid assessment in Gallap, Tabit, and Shangil Tobayi on 22 Sept. Displaced families previously reported in Gallap had either returned to their villages or moved on to Zam Zam camp, and only seven newly-arrived families remained. Tabit was deserted, other than a small number of armed SLA men. Two hundred new arrivals had been registered by Oxfam in Shadad (Shangil Tobayi area) and had temporarily re-settled in existing shelters belonging to IDPs who had left for cultivation purposes. No new arrivals were observed in Shangil Tobayi camp, but Oxfam is to conduct a verification exercise there.
On 23 Sept., State Minister in the Ministry of Labour, Dr. Mohamed Yousif Ahmed (SPLM/A), informed the press that an agreement is due to be reached between the government and the SPLM/A regarding the representation of the latter in the Abuja peace talks. Dr. Mohamed further stated that the SPLM/A will send representatives who have close relations with the armed groups in Darfur to Abuja.
In Abuja, the initial set of technical workshops concluded on 24 Sept. and on 25 Sept. the rest of the Minni Minawi faction of the SLM/A arrived in Abuja. Consultations were expected prior to the start of the talks themselves.
On 22 Sept., UNMIS El Fasher briefed 13 civil society organizations and national NGOs working in North Darfur on the UNMIS mandate, national reconciliation, the role of civil society in disseminating peace and quick impact programs (QIP). The participants requested support from the international community, UNMIS in particular, to build their capacity by conducting training courses and workshops, and establishing a coordination mechanism with them to ensure a regular exchange of information and ideas. They also stressed the need for protection, as some of their staff members were abducted, and their property was looted.
In Zalingei, Sudan Social Development Organization (SUDO) in collaboration with USAID and UNMIS Zalingei, completed a six-day training workshop on 24 Sept. on Human Rights education, monitoring and documentation. The participants were university students, Sheikhs, Police, staff of the Centre of Peace and Development, and teachers.
On 23 Sept., UNMIS Police together with the Sector I staff officers, visited Yambio (Western Equatoria) to conduct an assessment regarding the possibility of opening a UN Police Team Site and met with local authorities as well as UN agencies. Despite some infrastructure challenges the mission concluded that the location is suitable for a UN Police Team Site.
On 24 Sept., UN Police and local police conducted a public relations event at the Juba Day Complex Secondary School. They were able to engage in a positive dialogue with 100 students at the school.
On 22 Sept., a UNICEF team conducted a health and nutrition assessment in Wau prior to the establishment of a delivery programme. UNICEF met other UN agencies, NGOs and local authorities to decide on the way forward.
Representatives of WHO and the GoSS Ministry of Health conducted a two-day mission to Bentiu starting on 23 Sept. The objective of the mission was to assess the health facilities and cadres. New guidelines and health policies were presented by the representative of the GoSS Ministry of Health and will be operational in the near future.
Heavy rains accompanied by thunderstorms continued in Nyal town and surrounding villages on 22 and 23 Sept., wreaking havoc on property and people. On 23 Sept., a national UN staff member was struck by lightning but survived. The Nyal airstrip as well as some sections of the UNICEF compound were flooded, resulting in immobilized vehicles within the compound. The local population is strengthening the dykes after some gave way as a result of the surging water from the nearby swamps. WFP has begun air dropping food to the general population in Nyal. In addition, it is expected that school children of Nyal Primary School will be eligible for assistance under a school feeding programme.
On 22 Sept., the Area Coordination Office in Rumbek visited Amer, in order to assess the condition of the community, following reports of food deficits. Amer is a settlement of people displaced by floods, mainly from Meen Payam in Rumbek North County. During the mission, reports of other communities experiencing a food deficit, such as Rual, Lang Cok and Pantheer, and with people displaced due to flooding were received.
OCHA visited Zam Zam camp on 24 Sept. to assess the humanitarian response to the recent displacement. WES has already rehabilitated 10 latrines and is in the process of constructing 11 others, as well as two additional hand pumps. Distribution of food and Non-Food Items (NFIs) to newly-arrived IDPs started on 22 Sept. and is ongoing for the 1,700 families so far verified by the Spanish Red Cross (another 300 families are in the process of being verified).
An Emergency Health Kit, including medicines, disposables and instruments to support 10,000 patients for three months was despatched by WHO as part of its direct support programme to Zalingei Hospital.
WFP and SC-US completed a 15-day food distribution for 3,034 people in Abyei, including new returnees and those returnees who were missed in previous distributions. This is the third half-ration distribution conducted.
On 23 Sept., a large HAC and SRRC delegation from Khartoum visited Abyei to organize and distribute the work of the two bodies before they establish joint offices in the transitional areas. However, some Misserya tribal members expressed their dissatisfaction that the HAC and SRRC officials in the Abyei office will be from the Dinka tribe and informed UNMIS that they will take strong positions against this.
173 returnees arrived in Kosti on 20 Sept. Most of them were in transit, continuing their journey the same day on busses with the exception of 33 individuals who joined the existing returnees waiting at Kosti wharf. In comparison on 24 Sept., 288 individuals were registered, reflecting a dramatic increase in the numbers of returnees per day.
Two buses of returnees from Khartoum arrived in Abyei on 24 Sept., bringing the total number of arrivals to approximately 40 buses since 26 Aug. In addition to greatly testing the capacities of humanitarian agencies to meet their needs, the new arrivals are exacerbating tensions within Abyei.
Sector I (Juba)
A meeting was held at the SAF Area Commander's office in Juba on 24 Sept., attended by Sector I Commander, the Regional Coordinator and the Chief of Staff of JMCO, to discuss the launch of a bridge on the Juba - Yei road. SAF assured its cooperation in this regard.