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UNAMID defends use of armoured vehicles inside major towns in South Darfur

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UNAMID peacekeepers in a routine night patrol in El Fasher, North Darfur on 4 September 2016 (UNMAID Photo)

September 27, 2016 (NYALA) - An official at the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has justified the use of the mission’s armoured vehicles inside major cities in South Darfur state saying it is aimed to protect the blue helmets against any potential attacks.

On Saturday, the deputy governor of South Darfur Sabeel Ahmed Sabeel has asked the mission to prevent the movement of its military vehicles inside the markets, stressing the need to coordinate with the government and security organs in all moves within the state.

However, a reliable source from the UNAMID who spoke to Sudan Tribune on the condition of anonymity on Tuesday, said the use of the armoured vehicles was dictated by the security conditions in the state, pointing that several blue helmets and vehicles have been attacked by gunmen during the past period.

The same source stressed importance to enhance cooperation and coordination between the mission and the government to ensure the success of the mission’s mandate in Darfur.

“The mission has its own assessment for the stability of the security conditions in the region,” said the source.

He underlined that crime rate has declined compared to the previous period, saying however the mission must take preventive security measures to protect its staff.

The hybrid mission has been deployed in Darfur since December 2007 with a mandate to stem violence against civilians in the western Sudan’s region.

It is the world’s second largest international peacekeeping force with an annual budget of $1.35 billion and almost 20,000 troops.

UN agencies say there are nearly 2.5 million displaced persons in Darfur, despite the signing of peace agreement in Doha in July 2011.

Meanwhile, an official source has told Sudan Tribune that the government directives to prevent the movement of UNAMID’s military vehicles inside the markets aim to change the residents’ mental image about the lack of security and stability in the state.

He added the directives also prevent moves of all armoured vehicles inside major towns including those belonging to regular forces.

The same source pointed to the stability of the security situation in the state by over 85 percent, saying this was a direct result to the imposition of the emergency law.
He disclosed that the emergency situation would be lifted soon.

Since July 2014, an indefinite emergency situation was declared in South Darfur state, including a curfew from 7pm to 7am (local time) in the capital, Nyala.

The decision also banned riding of motorcycles by more than one person, holding weapons while wearing civilian clothes, vehicles driving around without license plates, and wearing of Kadamool (a turban which covers the face).

(ST)

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