By Tesfa-alem Tekle
April 28, 2008 (ADDIS ABABA) — The Force Commander of the UN-AU Mission in Darfur, Gen. Martin Agwai, has said that Egypt and Ethiopia are to send some troops to add up to the number of peacekeepers in Sudan‘s war-torn region.
- Gen. Martin Agwai
"We are expecting 1,200 troops from Egypt in May, and another battalion from Ethiopia, in addition to its offer of helicopters and ground transport for the mission" Agwai told the News Agency of Nigeria in New York on Sunday.
He said that with the current pledges the mission would gradually meet up its required 26,000 troops to secure the region and facilitate peace and security.
Agwai, however, appealed to other countries, which pledged to contribute troops to the mission, to redeem their pledges in good time.
The commander of the hybrid force said that presently only about 9,000 troops were on the ground, noting that the mission would achieve its target of 26,000 troops and policemen by the end of this year.
Agwai said once the mission could get the requirements in troops and logistics, it would take off fully.
According to him, "it is a process and we started the process about four months now and we have a lot of challenges to meet up and also to achieve global objectives".
He however appealed to warring rebels and Sudanese government forces to halt hostilities, as well as attacks on the mission personnel and NGOs, so as to allow peace in the region.
"It is important that all sides show full restraint at this time, and that peace be allowed for immediate mediation. Peace in Darfur has to prevail," he also noted.
Agwai, who is also the Chairman of the Darfur Cease Fire Commission, was in New York, last week to attend meetings of the UN Security Council on Darfur, and with troops contributing countries to the mission.
Nigeria has about 3,000 troops deployed under the auspices of the UN-AU mission.