Since 2011, the status of the Abyei Region has remained one of the main unresolved issues between Sudan and South Sudan. In 2011, fighting between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and the Sudan Armed Forces in the Abyei Region escalated and resulted in the total destruction of the town of Abyei and surrounding villages. The fighting also led to the displacement of more than 100,000 people, and additional contamination from landmines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW). Tensions in the region continue to date. The United Nations responded to this with Security Council resolution 1990 (2011), establishing the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) and 4,200 Ethiopian peacekeepers were deployed to the Abyei Region.
In August 2011, four UNISFA peacekeepers were killed and seven others were injured in a landmine accident. In response to the threat, the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) contracted a clearance team to open priority routes. The work of this team dramatically expanded UNISFA’s ability to patrol areas in the Abyei Region.
In December 2011, Security Council resolution 2024 (2011), expanded UNISFA’s mandate to include support to the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM). UNMAS began planning operational support for the JBVMM teams that will be stationed along the 2,100 km border between Sudan and South Sudan. In addition, Security Council resolutions 2075, 2104, 2126, 2156, 2179, 2205, 2230, and 2251 expanded UNMAS role to include identification and clearance of landmines/ERW in the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ) to ensure the freedom of movement of the JBVMM as well as to support UNISFA in weapons and ammunition management (WAM).
From UNISFA’s Results Based Framework (A/69/740)
Significant challenges to the programme include the political commitment of the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan in implementing the various Security Council resolutions relating to the JBVMM and the SDBZ.
The security situation in UNISFA Area of Responsibility is also another challenge, with incidents in the Abyei Area related to cattle rustling and armed attacks, to the fighting within South Sudan, and to the fighting in Kadugli town, as well as in Darfur and South Kordofan states. Furthermore, during the rainy season from June to the end of September of every year, demining operations are not possible due to poor road conditions.
UNISFA allocated US$25.4 million for the period 01 July 2015 to 30 June 2016 to support UNMAS activities and UNMAS is fully funded to 30 June 2016. Funding of US$20.3 million to cover activities for 01 July 2016 to 30 June 2017 was requested from UNISFA.
Updated May 2016