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UNAMID completes withdrawal from 10 sites in Darfur

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UNAMID officially handed over the Mission's team site in Tine, North Darfur, to the Government of Sudan, on 19 October 2017 (UNAMID Photo
December 21, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Thursday said it has concluded the closure and handover of 10 team sites to the Sudanese government.

In a press release on Thursday, the Mission pointed out that Graida team site in South Darfur was the last to be handed over to the Sudanese government.

“This is in line with the second phase of the Mission’s ongoing reconfiguration, as mandated by United Nations Security Council Resolution 2429 of July 2018” read the press release

According to the Mission, the team sites, which were handed over between October and December 2018, “include El Sireaf, Um Baro and Korma in North Darfur; Labado and Shaeria in East Darfur; Mukhjar in Central Darfur; Masteri and Mournei in West Darfur; as well as Buram and Graida in South Darfur”.

The Mission urged the Sudanese government “to fulfil its commitment to use these facilities for non-military civilian purposes that benefit communities, as stated in the Memoranda of Understanding and hand-over documents signed by both parties”.

The press release has quoted the UNAMID Joint Special Representative (JSR), Jeremiah Mamabolo, as saying the Mission “is committed to supporting the Government of Sudan to improve the lives of the people of Darfur. To this end, these facilities should be used to contribute towards institutions such as universities, hospitals and schools, that meet critical needs of health and education, while benefiting large parts of communities,”

A tripartite working group including the Sudanese government, African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) have been set up in February 2015 to develop an exit strategy for the UNAMID from Darfur.

In June 2017, the AU and the UN 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.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) admitted that the security situation in Darfur has improved but it decided to reinforce its presence in the mountainous area of Jebel Marra because there is no cessation of hostilities as a Sudan Liberation Movement faction led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) refuses to declare a unilateral truce or to engage in peace negotiations.

Last July, the UNSC unanimously decided to extend for one year the mandate of the UNAMID and also to reduce the number of its troops in line with an exit strategy aiming to close the hybrid operation in two years.

The hybrid mission has been deployed in Darfur since December 2007 with a mandate to stem violence against civilians in 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 estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the Darfur conflict since 2003, and over 2.5 million are displaced.

(ST)

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