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Philippines to deploy more 100 peacekeepers in Darfur

June 5, 2008 (MANILA) - The Philippines will send more 100 peacekeepers to the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur raising the number of its contingent to 142 officers.

The Philippines has already 42 peacekeepers deployed there early this year.

Ambassador Hilario Davide the Philippine representative to the UN has already informed the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) of Manila’s intention to send additional troops from the Philippine National Police (PNP) to support the UN African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

The Philippine contribution comes in response to the request made by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon during his meeting with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo at the sidelines of the 62nd UN General Assembly last September.

Davide said the deployment of the latest batch of Filipino peacekeepers “underscores the Philippine government’s commitment to help find a solution to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur."

The Philippines is taking part un various UN peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, Cote d’ Ivoire, Darfur, Georgia, Haiti, Kosovo, Liberia, Nepal, Sudan and Timor Leste.

“With this new commitment, UNAMID will host the largest number of Filipino police officers, " Davide said.

The 260000 strong-force, UNAMID is considered as the biggest UN peacekeeping operation ever assembled by the UN. However only 9200 troops are on the ground, further peacekeepers are expected to be deployed before this summer.

The U.N. believes that more 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur conflict. Khartoum has been accused of unleashing janjaweed militia forces to commit atrocities against ethnic African communities in the fight with rebel groups.

(ST)