NAIROBI, May 19 (AFP) — Kenya will send 842 troops to a UN peacekeeping force being deployed in southern Sudan to back a January peace deal which ended more than two decades of civil war, the national security minister said on Thursday.
|Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell signs the Sudan Peace agreement as a witness, as Sudan’s Vice President, Ali Osman Taha, left, and Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki, right, wait, at Nyayo Stadium Nairobi, Kenya, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2005. (AP).|
The troops, who are currently being mobilised, will be part of UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), John Michuki said in a meeting here with Sudan’s chief of general staff General Arabi Abdulla Ahmed.
"Some 842 personnel have been approved for deployment in southern Sudan under UNMIS," according to a defence department’s statement seen by AFP.
The UN Security Council on March 24 approved the deployment of 10,000 UN peacekeepers to shore up a January 9 peace agreement between Khartum and southern Sudan rebels which put an end to the 21-year north-south civil war in Sudan, Africa’s largest country.
The war in the south erupted in 1983 when the rebels, rose up against Khartoum to end Arab and Muslim domination and marginalisation of the black, animist and Christian south.
While religion fuelled the conflict, vast reserves of oil, mostly in southern Sudan, played an increasingly dominant role in the war that has claimed at least 1.5 million lives and left more than four million others homeless.
Another separate conflict is raging in Darfur, a region in western Sudan that has been the theatre of fighting between Khartoum-backed militia and rebels from local tribes of black African origin since February 2003.
An estimated 300,000 people have been killed and 2.4 million displaced since Khartoum launched a crackdown on the insurgents in a deadly campaign that has been marked by mass killings, torture, rape and pillage.