The Joint Monitoring Mission Situation Report
18 - 25 August 2004


Commander's assessment

1. Assessment.
Calm still prevails in the Nuba Mountains.

2. Concerns.
The Mission's greatest concern remains the current budgetary situation which, despite the welcome relief from the Dutch contribution released this week, threatens the cessation of operations and consequent creation of a security vacuum in the Nuba, in October. Other concerns are:

  1. Having briefly resumed inspections of 15th Division (GOS), the Pipeline battalion, JMC has been forced to cease inspections having been advised by Commander Central Command that he had directed the units not to comply with the direction given by Military Intelligence in Khartoum. He has undertaken to explain his reasoning to JMC, who will then pursue the matter through higher formation and, politically, with the Friends of Nuba Mountains (FONM).
  2. Dogged perseverance by JMC Sector 2 in the Karlanya killing of a nomad has achieved a partial settlement. Once the size of the compensation has been established, at yet another JMC facilitated meeting, there will be relief that a tense situation has been resolved.
  3. Both Parties are involved in 'tit for tat' tactics with respect to the GOS car stolen by SPLA. As a result, for nearly 3 months the GOS have restricted all movement between Dilling and the Western Jebels. Continuing JMC mediation meets with intransigence on both sides.
  4. Increased JMC presence is now underway to monitor the situation in the Frandella - Talodi area, following allegations of robbery and escalating arrests by the Parties.

3. Intentions.
In addition to resolving the specific concerns above:

  1. To press the FONM for adequate budgetary support.
  2. To seek a short familiarisation visit to the JMC by SRSG Mr Pronk and the incoming UN Force Commander.

4. Mines and Mine Clearing.

  1. Land Mine Action (LMA). Operations continued on Katcha AP minefield; cleared 458sqm (three AP mine No 4). Second team commenced work on Krongo AP minefield.
  2. Danish Church Aid (DCA). Recent arrivals include PM (arrived 23 Aug) and Ops O (arrived 25 Aug). DCA continued with refresher training in Umm Serdiba.
  3. Nuba Mountains Solidarity Abroad (NMSA). NTR
  4. RONCO Consulting Corporation (JMM team). RONCO has suspended demining operations in the Nuba region until end Sep. Letter requesting RONCO demining support signed by HoM 22 Aug.
  5. Federation Swiss Demining. FSD conducted refresher training of team members and medics.
  6. Additional Mine Activities. The two SLIRI impact survey teams have conducted impact survey in 10 mine-affected villages as part of a pilot programme. Review of impact survey data revealed requirement for re-fresher training to focus on consistent data, conducted 24-25 Aug.
  7. MRE Activities.
    1. DCA: OSIL and JASMAR MRE teams started refresher training.
    2. SC (US): Continued to conduct MRE in the GoS areas of the Nuba Mountains.
    3. UNMAS MRE: Conducted a visit to Sama to investigate an incident where a cow actuated an AP mine. MRE Associate attended proposal-writing workshop in Khartoum 23-25 Aug.


  1. Food security among returnees in the Shatt region (Sector IV). Following up earlier reports on food shortages in different GoS administered areas from, among others, the Humanitarian Aid Commission and UNICEF, WFP, NMPACT and JMC visited for some days this week a number of villages to assess the food security. WFP will present an overview of the findings and recommendations.
  2. Shatt Damam and Shatt Mazarik. The first two villages were Shatt Damam (about 5300 inhabitants) and Shatt Mazarik (about 7000 inhabitants; numbers are estimates), which had already received food rations but all the same had people living on roughage. It is not unusual during the "hunger gap," the meagre time when supplies run out before the crop can be harvested, or indeed, quite common, that people live off pumpkin leaves with occasionally some cucumber and okra. However, the team came across several cases (children with swollen bellies for instance), which showed signs of malnutrition. From the various encounters it became clear that about 165 households in Shatt Daman missed the registration (May and June) as they returned from Rahmania, a "peace camp" near El Obeid, to the area afterwards. Though people share, this number (whether or not it is exactly correct) obviously puts a strain on existing resources. Crop seeds have been made available, at a subsidized price (SD 500 for 15 "mulwas": 1 mulwa = 3 kg) but not everyone has been able to raise that amount. Not necessarily an unfair amount considering traders offer SD 50 only for 3 kg of sorghum to sell it during the hunger gap for SD 200. One (rather limited) "coping mechanism" is to work other people's farms to make some money.
  3. The situation in Shatt Mazarik. This is slightly different: only 24 households arrived after registration. Shatt Daman and Shatt Mazarik are truly farming communities: hardly any livestock around and most chickens wiped out by a disease. With a dry spell in July and plants damaged by insects, expectations regarding the harvest vary: "weak people" (the elderly) would harvest 2 - 4 sacks (of 90 kg each) from small plots near the houses whereas the majority would harvest (from the "far-off" farms) between 10 - 23 sacks. Additionally people grow beans, groundnuts, okra, corn, sesame and karkade.
  4. Should Illnesses Interfere. Now is the time for malaria and diarrhoea - additional costs are incurred and little money is left. People who missed registration are at a disadvantage. To address the situation of the "late" arrivals, a new registration will take place shortly. Distribution of fortified flour (a corn-soy blend) and beans is the best solution to address malnourishment.
  5. Continued Assessment. While the assessment continues in more villages, other points are worthy of note. Once registration has been completed, additional visits might be in order. Communities (and their leaders) obviously have their responsibilities of informing (from returnees to the health situation) relevant authorities and organisations apart from its obligations as a community. Equally when during the Annual Needs Assessment it appears certain areas went without enough rain, these areas should be monitored.
  6. Registration and Distribution. Another issue is the actual registration and distribution. In the Nuba Mountains WFP usually distributes food through third parties (NGOs). Some village chiefs argued that they should be the ones in charge of registration and distribution, as "we know best." In general, aid agencies doubt this statement: "when registration goes through the village chief, food will end up in the market," however, with specific reference to Sudan, other voices are heard. (
  7. Security Meeting. The biweekly security meeting will take place Mon 30 Aug at 1000hrs at the CIMIC Centre.
  8. HAC/NMPACT Meeting. The Inter-Agency Coordination meeting will be held in Kadugli Wed 01 Sep at 1300hrs in the HAC Office.

Chief of Staff
For Head of Mission