Home | News    Friday 21 January 2005

African Union force in Darfur soon to reach 1,365

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ADDIS ABABA, Jan 21 (Reuters) - The African Union said on Friday its protection force in Sudan’s western Darfur region would soon grow to 1,365 soldiers, with the impending deployment of 313 troops from Nigeria and Senegal.

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Rwandan troops

AU spokesman Assane Ba said no fixed date had been agreed, but the troops would be airlifted in the "immediate future".

The United Nations calls the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, where 1.7 million are homeless and 70,000 have estimated to have died, the world’s worst. The soldiers are there to monitor a ceasefire between Darfur rebels and the Sudanese government.

The African Union force there is ultimately supposed have 3,320 troops, but it has grown slowly because the pan-African body is relying on foreign aid to pay for it.

So far, the AU has received $186.7 million of the $221 million it budgeted for the Darfur operations.

Contractors building the camps to house the troops have also been behind schedule, Ba said.

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