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Ethiopian peacekeepers begin to arrive in West Darfur

December 16, 2008 (EL-FASHER) — The long time announced Ethiopian troops begun to arrive today to the troubled western Sudan region of Darfur. The peacekeepers will continue to arrive during the next three days.

Ethiopia said it would send the biggest contingent, 5000 troops, in the hybrid peacekeeping force for Darfur. But their deployment had been delayed due to the lack of equipments and preparations on the ground to receive them.

The first group of the Ethiopian Infantry Battalion, 107 peacekeepers arrived on Tuesday to the capital of West Darfur state, El Geneina. Other 412 troops are expected to arrive between 17-19 December, the UNAMID announced today.

There are 341 Ethiopian peacekeepers already deployed in Kulbus, West Darfur. The newly deployed force will bring the total number of the Ethiopian Infantry battalion to 860.

Further by the end of this month the UNAMID is also expecting the arrival of the Ethiopian Recce Company consisting of 120 personnel; the Ethiopian Medium Transport Company consisting of 125 personnel and the Ethiopian Multi-role Logistic Unit comprising of 300 personnel.

The Ethiopian troops will conduct security patrols in their areas of responsibility, and escort humanitarian convoys.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769 (2007) authorized the deployment of up to 19,555 military personnel, including 360 military observers and liaison officers and up to 3,772 police personnel and 19 formed police units comprising of up to 140 personnel each. To date, the total number of military forces deployed in Darfur totals 10,708.

(ST)