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UNAMID to complete phase one of withdrawal by end of September

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UNAMID head, Jeremiah N. Mamabolo (ST photo)

September 18, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said seven more team sites will be closed by the end of the month as part of phase one of the Mission’s reconfiguration.

Earlier this month, the Mission said four team sites have been closed to date including Malha, Mellit and Um Kadada, North Darfur, and Muhajeria, East Darfur, pointing seven team sites are yet to be closed.

In a press release extended to Sudan Tribune Monday, the Mission said UNAMID Joint Special Representative, Jeremiah Mamabolo, on Thursday briefed the United Nations Security Council in New York about the situation in Darfur.

"UNAMID has started the phase one of the reconfigurations, namely the closure of eleven team sites and reduction of military personnel strength from 15,845 to 11,395 and police personnel strength from 3,403 to 2,888. Since June, UNAMID has closed four-team sites in North and East Darfur, and the remaining seven will be closed by the end of September," Mamabolo said in his speech to the Security Council seen by Sudan Tribune.

It is noteworthy that the seven-team sites which will be closed include Abu Shouk, Tine, Habila, Forobaranga, Tulus, Eid Al Fursan and Zam Zam.

The Sudanese army has been fighting a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003.

Also, Mamabolo said that the region has remained largely calm in the past few months.

However, he referred to the attacks of last May in North and East Darfur by the Sudan Liberation Movements factions of Minni Minnawi and the Revolutionary Council saying they "are in themselves a reminder of the need for commitment by all parties to cease hostilities and steps towards a permanent and lasting peace".

Speaking about the camps of displaced persons in the region, He "There is an urgent need for Government of Sudan, with the support of the international community, to find sustainable solutions for the IDPs to return to their homes voluntarily".

In addition, he disclosed that UNMAID developed plans to deploy the Jebel Marra Task Force and requested the Sudanese government for land to establish a Temporary Operating Base in Golo. He pointed this civilians’ protection strategy in Jebel Marra aims also to coordinate with aid groups and to shape the military activities of the peacekeepers in the area.

"The cooperation of the Government for the reconfiguration of UNAMID, particularly for the establishment of a TOB in Golo, is a matter of priority," he stressed in his briefing to the 15 member body.

Last June, the African Union and the United Nations decided to draw down the UNAMID by withdrawing the military personnel by 44% and that of the police component by 30%, the closure of 11 team sites in the first phase and the withdrawal of the military component from another 7 team sites in the second phase.

Bu at the same time the Council decided the opening of a temporary operating base in the Jebel Marra town of Golo.

UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the conflict, and over 2.5 million were displaced.

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.

(ST)

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