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Burkina Faso pulls out of UNAMID in Darfur: FM

March 27, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Burkina Faso has decided to implement a decision it took earlier to withdraw its troops from the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), said Sudan’s Foreign Minister.

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A UNAMID peacekeeper from from Burkina Fasso and based in Forobaranga, West Darfur, checks a map during a patrol to Tamar village. (Photo UNAMID/Albert González Farran)

On Monday, Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré concluded a two-day visit to Khartoum where he participated in the joint talks between the two countries.

In press statements at Khartoum airport following the departure of the visiting president? on Monday, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said: “Burkina Faso will withdraw its troops from Darfur”, pointing that Sudan will bear the financial cost for the transfer of the troops.

He pointed the government of Burkina Faso has notified the UN Chief and the UN Security Council of its decision to withdraw its troops from UNAMID.

“According to a previous agreement with the UN, troops will be withdrawn from 14 sites in Darfur’s five states,” he said.

In May 2016, Chief of General Staff of Burkina Faso army, General Pingrenoma Zagre, disclosed that he asked the President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré to withdraw their 850 soldiers participating in Darfur peacekeeping mission.

Zagre pointed to the growing security threats posed by Jihadist groups in the Sahel and Western Africa region.

Since an attack on a hotel in the capital Ouagadougou last January, Burkina Faso is targeted by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb group. The West African country is closely monitoring its porous borders with Nigeria where Boko Haram militants are active.

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

Last June, the UN Security Council (UNSC) extended the mandate of the UNAMID until 30 June 2017, stressing that the situation in the western Sudan region continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security.

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 a peace agreement in Doha in July 2011.

(ST)