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Darfur: Key Units Arrive Ahead Of Hybrid Force


Key units arrive in Darfur ahead of deployment of hybrid UN-AU force

Chinese and Bangladeshi units that will form part of the hybrid United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur (UNAMID) have arrived in the war-torn Sudanese region to help in the transition from the existing AU peace operation (AMIS).

At the weekend 135 troops from a Chinese engineering company that will eventually number 315 arrived in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state, to begin their deployment, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters in New York today.

The advance Chinese troops are part of the UN's support package to AMIS and will help pave the way for the deployment of UNAMID by undertaking work critical to the establishment of the hybrid mission, Ms. Montas added.

A separate Bangladeshi Formed Police Unit (FPU) also arrived in Nyala late last week to begin work supporting AMIS.

UNAMID, which is due to take over from AMIS at the start of next year, will have an estimated 26,000 troops and police officers when it reaches full deployment. They are tasked with trying to quell the violence and suffering in Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and at least 2.2 million others displaced since rebel groups began fighting Government forces and allied militia in 2003.

The AU-UN Joint Special Representative, Rodolphe Adada, visited both new units yesterday after earlier holding meetings with Ali Mahmoud, the Governor of South Darfur. The two men discussed the security situation inside the Kalma camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

In a press statement, Mr. Adada said that he and the Governor agreed that arms inside Kalma camp posed a threat not only to other IDPs but to humanitarian workers trying to deliver assistance.

Meanwhile, the UN and AU Chief Mediators for Darfur, Tayé-Brook Zerihoun and Sam Ibok, are heading to Juba, south Sudan, tomorrow for further discussions with Darfur rebel groups based there and with members of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) Task Force for the Darfur Peace Process.

The mediators are scheduled to travel to Darfur itself next week to hold consultations with the leadership of one of the region's many rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

ENDS

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