Since 2011, the status of the Abyei Area has remained a contentious issue between Sudan and South Sudan. Fighting between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and the Sudan Armed Forces in the Abyei Area escalated and resulted in the total destruction of Abyei town and surrounding villages. Clashes 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.
UNMAS role in UNISFA originates from UN Security Council Resolution 1990, which established the mission and recognized the need for demining assistance. A mine incident in August 2011, which killed four UNISFA peacekeepers and injured seven others, further affirmed the criticality of mine action as an essential mission enabler in the area of operations.
Furthermore, UNMAS supports UNISFA in weapons and ammunition management (WAM), to mitigate the threat to peace and security in Abyei arising from the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons.
UNMAS mandate in UNISFA is clearly stated in the various Security Council resolutions on UNISFA, including the most recent, UN S/RES 2318 (2016). The resolution continues to demand “…deployment of UNMAS to ensure JBVMM freedom of movement, as well as the identification and clearance of mines in the Abyei Area and the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ).”
UNMAS non-technical surveys, explosive ordnance disposal, area clearance and route assessment activities enable peacekeeping operations, the delivery of humanitarian aid, the return of community members to previously abandoned communities and a peaceful migration by nomadic herdsmen.
UNMAS delivers mine risk education to UNISFA personnel, enhancing their knowledge on what to do should they encounter items of ERW while conducting operations. Similar messages are delivered to communities within the Abyei Area.
UNMAS maintains the operational readiness of JBVMM Patrol Support Teams to allow Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism ground patrols to move freely and protected against any explosive hazards that may be encountered in the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone.
UN Security Council Resolution 2205 (2015) affirmed UNISFA mandate to confiscate and destroy weapons. UNMAS takes the lead in weapons and ammunition destruction confiscated by UNISFA troops, working closely with UNPOL, UNISFA troops as well as national monitors from Sudan and South Sudan
Funding of US$20.3 million to cover activities from 01 July 2016 to 30 June 2017 has been received through UNISFA assessed budget. UNMAS – UNISFA is fully funded to 30 June 2017.
Updated March 2017