The Secretary-General and SRSG Pronk are in Abuja, Nigeria for the summit meeting of African foreign ministers. It is expected that issues related to Sudan will figure prominently in both the formal and informal discussions.
The AU continues its investigation into the reports last week of bombing at Rahad Kabolong, south of the village of Shangil Tobai, North Darfur. Media reports of the incident last week remain unconfirmed.
On 27 and 28 Jan., armed tribesmen reportedly attacked the IDP gathering at Djedja, located near Buram, South Darfur, reportedly killing six persons and displacing over 4,000 persons in the directions of Joghana and Gereida. Agencies working in Gereida report a stream of new arrivals in Gereida and expect an influx of between 1,000 and 2,000 IDPs within the next few days. Agencies are assessing the situation and will follow-up with authorities.
North Darfur: An INGO with operations in Shangil Tobai reports that four wounded persons checked into the clinic in the camp following a deterioration in the security situation in that area between 24 and 27 Jan. The INGO further reports that approximately 70 new families have arrived in the camp during this period.
On 27 Jan., unidentified persons burnt three huts in the HAC camp manager's compound in Abu Shouk. The next day, a suspect was arrested by police officers but was subsequently released after a few hours of questioning. A similar incident was reported on 26 Jan., where an unidentified person burnt one of the huts of a local NGO. (No further details available.)
South Darfur: Due to continuing insecurity, several routes are currently closed for UN movement including Gereida, Labado, Muhujarija, Hamada, Marla, Hijer and Al-Mallam. The only routes that are cleared for UN movement are the Nyala-Kass, Nyala-Manawashi and Nyala-Kubum roads.
West Darfur: Although the security situation appears to have generally calmed down since the heavy fighting in areas north of Sirba on 20 Jan., the situation remains tense. Areas north of Sirba, however, remain 'no go' areas until the completion of an assessment. Due to reported insecurity in some areas south of Masteri, these areas have also been closed for UN operations until further notice.
Several villages in Jebel Marra were reportedly attacked on 28 Jan. including some that were reportedly burnt. Reports indicate that there were casualties and wounded persons who have checked into Nertiti hospital.
Upper Nile: While the security situation in Upper Nile state has generally improved since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), uncertainty remains. The 22:00 curfew in Malakal has been maintained and the military have been on maximum alert in the town. Checkpoint procedures at the entrances of Malakal have been more strictly enforced. There has also been a general delay in the issuance of travel permits to NGOs for missions outside of Malakal.
North Darfur: On 28 Jan., a group of IDPs in Abu Shouk camp, who claimed not to have received ration cards and not to have received food since their arrival in the camp, looted 4 MT of oil, a large quantity of grain and CSB from the SRCS food distribution centre. This incident led to a riot and halted an ongoing food distribution. Although police managed to control the situation, an IDP was injured during the attack. The Protection Working Group based in El Fasher met with IDP leaders, WFP, SRC, and other actors, on the issue and is planning to commence confidence-building activities to prevent future similar incidents.
West Darfur: Despite serious insecurity in Seleia on 20-22 Jan., residents of the area report that there was no apparent large-scale movement of populations. However, residents report that they still felt vulnerable, as police presence remains inconsistent. On 28 Jan., police stationed in Seleia brought two girls to Geneina who were abducted and raped in the 22 Jan. incident in Seleia.
On 26 Jan., a group of 20 women from Hessa Hissa camp, in Zaleingi, were reported to have been held captive for several hours by unidentified gunmen while venturing outside the camp in search of firewood. The women were subsequently released. Most of them reported to have been beaten and two reported to have suffered from attempted rape.
IOM is planning to meet with partners in coming days to discuss alternative solutions for the move of IDPs from the public buildings of Abu Zar and Zaleingi following the determination of its Verification and Monitoring Unit (VMU) that the move to El Madrassa site would be involuntary and inappropriate, citing the lack of security at the proposed site. In Hamedia, the other IDP camp just outside Zaleingi, an old man was treated in the clinic after he was beaten by men on horseback outside the camp on 25 January.
North Darfur: Humanitarian agencies are planning to meet to discuss and identify alternative sites to relocate some 25,000 IDPs that have arrived in Abu Shouk camp over the past two months due to insecurity. Initially, agencies had identified a near by area called Sewelinga, as a possible site but the various attempts to find water in the site had failed. In the meantime, the IDPs are receiving assistance in Abu Shouk including food and non-food items. In addition, to accommodate the new arrivals, agencies are planning to increase the number of showers from 20 to 48 and to increase the number of pit latrines.
Food was distributed to IDPs in Zam Zam during the week covering the approximately 18,000 IDPs, however, some IDP leaders claim that some of the IDPs have not received assistance. In order to better target the IDPs, SPRC, in collaboration with the Humanitarian Information Centre (HIC), is finalizing plans to improve the camp layout. CHF International is planning to install five grinding mills and generators in the camp. Oxfam reports that it plans to hand over the operation of the sanitation operations in the camp to the GoS counterpart, Water, Environment and Sanitation agency (WES).
South Darfur: Several agencies including Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), MSF-H and UNJLC have commenced plans to provide blankets and plastic sheeting to IDPs that are slowly trickling back into Labado. In Muhujarija, ICRC's water and sanitation teams are repairing four hand pumps in Muhujarija. Food to be distributed by Solidarites to Muhujarija and Labado departed Nyala on 30 January.
West Darfur: WHO, along with SC-US and UNICEF, plans to travel to Habilla on 30 Jan., following reports of possible cases of measles in the area.
Unity: Action Contre le Faim (ACF) had to dismantle its Supplementary Feeding Centre (SFC) in Bentiu on 20 Jan. so as to avoid it being demolished by the local authorities as part of the town's re-planning process. The removal of this feeding centre is part of a broader negative trend which is of major concern to the humanitarian community. The re-planning processes in Bentiu and Rubkona could have a severe impact on those most in need of humanitarian assistance in the area. ACF's Theraputic Feeding Centre (TFC) and one of CARE's health clinics in Bentiu have also been targeted for demolition.
On 27 Jan. in Khartoum, UNFPA hosted a meeting that brought together all UN agencies (UNAMIS included), GoS Ministries of Health, Defence and Interior, NGOs, clubs for People Living with HIV/AIDS, Religious Groups and other HIV/AIDS stakeholders. The participants agreed: that HIV/AIDS is a serious concern in all conflict situations and should be mainstreamed; that there is a need to strengthen the collective commitment to the Government HIV/AIDS Framework; to encourage inter-agency joint planning and have HIV/AIDS stakeholders' shared Implementation Support Plan (ISP); to request the UNAIDS Country Coordinator to collate stakeholders' 2005 planned activities; and, that conflict situations/areas (like Darfur) require special programs. A workshop for 20 HIV/AIDS Focal Points will be conducted by mid-March 2005 and be followed by a joint training of trainers course in Apr. 05. UNAMIS Policy Advisor is to offer technical guidance.