"The Government in recent years had been able to take control of areas previously held by SLA/AW (the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW) in and around the heartland of Jebel Marra, leaving that group with a few pockets of resistance," said Mr. Mamabolo.
According to him, the unilateral ceasefire that was extended by another six months in January 2017 was largely holding, and the Sudan Liberation Army/Minni Minawi (SLA/MM) and the Gibril Ibrahim faction of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM/Gibril) armed groups had declared a ceasefire.
However, SLA/AW consistently refused to do so, and against the backdrop of economic hardship and social depression banditry and criminality continued to be widespread.
"Meanwhile, efforts by the African Union High-level Implementation Panel, with the support of UNAMID, to get parties to sign a cessation of hostilities agreement and begin negotiations, had remained inconclusive. SLA/AW continued to refuse to join the peace process, he said, urging the Council and those with influence and leverage on that group to persuade it to do so," Mr. Mamabolo added.
Noting that the past three months had also seen a continued reduction in the number of intercommunal security incidents, he said 97,400 people were nevertheless newly displaced in 2016. Some 39,600 of those had reportedly returned, and no new displacement had been seen in 2017. Calling for durable solutions to enable their return, he noted that cooperation with the Government had improved, with significant improvements in UNAMID’s freedom of movement. The mission, along with the United Nations country team, had repeatedly been able to visit previously off-limits areas in Jebel Marra, he said, adding that there had also been some improvement in the issuance of visas and the clearance of essential equipment.