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UNAMID is still waiting land for Jebel Marra base: UN chief

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UNAMID officially handed over the Mission's team site in Tine, North Darfur, to the Government of Sudan, on 19 October 2017 (UNAMID Photo

January 6, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - In a recent report to the Security Council issued by the end of 2017, the UN chief said that Darfur hybrid peacekeeping mission has achieved progress in the implementation of phase one of the UNAMID reconfiguration process, but the Sudanese government still has to give the last for the Jebel Marra base.

António Guterres further said that the region is calm and there are no new clashes between the government forces and the armed groups. However, he pointed that some rebels in Jebel Marra area are now involved in "acts of banditry".

In line with a plan aiming to reduce the peacekeepers deployed in the western Sudan region, the joint mission had to reduce its uniformed personnel to 11, 395 military and the police to 2,888 individuals by January 2018.

The reconfiguration process, also, provides to establish a new base in Golo to protect civilians in Jebel Marra where a faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement - Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) refuse to negotiate with the government or to declare a cessation of hostilities.

"With 11 team sites being closed and handed over to the Government of Sudan, the uniformed personnel repatriated and the civilian staffing review completed. The Jebel Marra task force concept of operations was adopted by the mission on 7 December 2017," says the report.

"The establishment of the temporary operating base in Golo is pending the allocation of land from the Government. The mission is yet to complete the state stabilization plans in collaboration with local authorities and the United Nations country team," he added.

According to the report which was released to the UNSC members on 27 December and to the public on 6 January, the Secretary-General pledged to submit a separate report detailing the assessment observations and recommendations will be submitted to the Council on 2 January 2018.

The programme of the Security Council for January 2018 shows that a consultations meeting on the UNAMID was held on 2 January.

Regarding the security situation; the report said there situation remained largely calm adding there was no fighting between the Sudanese government forces and the SLM-Minni Minnawi and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) led by Gibril Ibrahim, which are committed to a unilateral cessation of hostilities.

Speaking about the SLA/AW, the report says its activities "continue to be limited to (some) pockets in Jebel Marra amid reports of further fragmentations and involvement in acts of banditry".

Nonetheless, the report says the UNAMID reported clashes between a suspected JEM dormant cell and Sudanese government forces in Birkat Saira area, 25 km east of Saraf Omra, on 22 November, in the context of the weapons collection campaign, which resulted in the capture of 16 rebels.

A second clash also took place in Feina, north-east of Kass, on 21 October, when SLA/AW reportedly encroached an area controlled by a splinter group.

The Secretary-General called on the government to build on the progress made in the restoration of the rule of law and to enhance its cooperation with the UNAMID in order to implement its mandate in protecting civilians and promoting human rights.

(ST)

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