The Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) renewed the unilateral ceasefire from 20 September to 18 December to allow humanitarian access to civilians in the landslide-affected areas of Jebel Marra.? On 9 November, three armed groups, JEM, SLM-MM and SLM-TC, joined the unilateral ceasefire for humanitarian purposes for three months until 8 February 2019. ?However, intermittent clashes continue, especially between government forces and SLA-AW, mainly in the western and southern Jebel Marra area. ?On 12 November, at least five civilians were killed and dozens injured in an attack by the RSF in Deribat market, East Jebel Marra. ?As of 18 November, six civilians, including two children, were still missing.? The ceasefire was further questioned when, on 6 November, an RSF commander threatened to attack SLM-AW fighters in the next three months. ?He said this in a response of SLA-AW's accusations, supported by JEM and SLM-MM, that government forces were taking advantage of the ceasefire, and that the Sudanese military and RSF were responsible for several crimes against the local population, such as rapes in Leiba (eastern Jebel Marra) or killings in Rabkona village (western Jebel Marra) that occurred on 26 September. UNAMID's neutral position is also questioned, making its role as a mediator difficult. The SLM-AW leader Abdel Wahid al-Nur still refuses to begin peace talks with the government until compensation demands and measurable steps towards ensuring their equal rights are undertaken.? On 1 November, the Sudanese government agreed to establish a New Independent Implementation Mechanism (NIIM) for future inclusive peace talks, following a three-day meeting with parties including JEM and SLM-MM. On the basis of the Doha Documents for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), talks will resume in mid-November.? On 7 November, the Sudan Call emphasised the importance of inviting all factions of the Sudan Call, which has yet to happen. ? There have been few other incidents of intercommunal conflict, but fatalities are still regularly reported, especially from disputes over land and resources between herder and farmers, particularly IDPs and returnees.?
THE TWO AREAS: BLUE NILE AND SOUTH KORDOFAN
Violence has continued in the Two Areas since the 1990s, and worsened following the discovery of oil in these states, and South Sudan’s independence. The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), controls areas in Blue Nile and South Kordofan. Violence has increased dramatically since the end of 2014, when the government began an extensive military operation to end armed opposition in Darfur and the Two Areas. In October, the Sudanese government approved an UN-led initiative to allow humanitarian assistance to most vulnerable people in the SPLM-N controlled areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.?
The SPLM-N split into two factions in April 2017, one headed by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu of the Uduk tribe and the other by Malik Agar of the Ingessana tribe due to internal power struggles and conflicting self-determination calls. ?Both factions of the SPLM-N have declared unilateral ceasefires in their conflict with the government until 30 November 2018, but peace talks have stalled.? Renewed peace negotiations between the government and the SPLN-al Hilu began on 30 October, and concluded without significant progress. ?
Following an offer by Salva Kiir, South Sudan's president, the government of Sudan appointed him as a mediator to settle disputes among all parties in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Kiir's main aim is to unify all military and political factions to ensure sustainable peace in the Two Areas. ?The successful implementation of peace talks in Juba remains questionable as opposition groups were still waiting for invitations as of 12 November. ? Sporadic clashes between government forces and SPLM-N fighters continue. ?Recent reports from South Kordofan indicate that government troops shot two men in the SPLM-N-controlled Kubla area on 24 June and army soldiers killed three people and wounded six others in the Dalami area on 8 July.?
Sudan -South Sudan
Relations between Sudan and South Sudan seem to be improving. On 26 June, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir decided to reopen the common border with South Sudan and resume trade.?Talks about Abyei region, the disputed area between South Kordofan (Sudan) and Northern Bahr-El-Ghazal (South Sudan), resumed in June after a two-year pause. ?However, progress has been limited as the Sudanese government rejects the extension of UNISFA's mandate, thereby threatening safety and security in the area. ?The status of Abyei is still to be determined. Abyei’s oil reserves make the region economically desirable to both Sudan and South Sudan. Its border location has also made it the focal point of ethnic, cultural, and linguistic conflicts.?
Sudan hosted the latest peace negotiations between the government of South Sudan and opposition groups. On 30 June, the South Sudanese parties signed the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement, committing to a permanent ceasefire and pledging to finalise a deal on pending issues in the governance chapter of the 2015 peace agreement. The declaration provides for Sudan and South Sudan to resume joint rehabilitation of damaged oil installations at Unity and Thar Jath oilfields as early as July 2018.?On 7 June, authorities of Sudan and South Sudan agreed to repair the oil infrastructure damaged by conflict in the Heglig area, aiming to resume oil production within three months. As of 31 October, no reparation and construction work has officially started. Oil-rich Heglig, disputed by both Sudan and South Sudan, is located between Southern Kordofan and the Unity State of South Sudan.?
On 3 July, Sudan and South Sudan agreed to re-open four border crossing points between the two countries. ?They had not re-opened as of 31 October. However, in early October both countries said they were ready to re-open crossing points, confirming the status of the buffer until the end of 2018. ?