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Sudan’s police arrest UNAMID peacekeepers accused of smuggling weapons

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Indonesian peacekeepers on El-Fasher - Zalingei road on 12 February 2010 (UNAMID - Olivier Chassot Photo)
January 20, 2017 (EL-FASHER) - The government of North Darfur state Friday has arrested Indonesian soldiers belonging to the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) for carrying smuggled arms upon leaving El-Fasher airport.

Deputy Governor of North Darfur Mohamed Hasab al-Nabi told Sudan Tribune that security organs at El-Fasher airport on Thursday seized large amount of weapons and ammunition which was in possession of a UNAMID force.

“The UNAMID force was departing after completing its service within the framework of the routine change. In accordance with the information obtained by our security organs, weapons and ammunition were seized besides some other materials that look like dust and stones,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a press release extended to Sudan Tribune Friday, the hybrid mission confirmed the incident saying "a number of weapons and military-related items were found by UNAMID Security in some checked-in luggage" during a rotation of a UNAMID contingent at El Fasher airpot.

In its short statement, UNAMID underlined they altered the Sudanese authorities and launched an investigation.

Hasab al-Nabi said that the force held these weapons and ammunition illegally, adding the state government took the necessary legal procedures and the rest of the moves would be taken by the federal government, Foreign Ministry and the concerned bodies.

For his part, the director of customs police in North Darfur Asim Hamid told Sudan Tribune that their unit at El-Fasher airport has arrested the Indonesian force in possession of the weapons.

He pointed the customs unit was inspecting personal baggage of the departing Indonesian force and 29 Kalashnikov rifles, 4 guns, 6 GM3 guns and 61 various pistols besides large amounts of ammunition.

Hamid further stressed that his forces are ready to protect the security of the country and ensure safety of passengers, praising the customs police in El-Fasher.

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.

(ST)

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