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North Darfur bans UNAMID’s flights over the state without permission

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August 23, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - Senior Sudanese officials said the government of North Darfur state has imposed an air ban on planes belonging to the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and suspended all its flights to the state’s capital, El-Fashir.

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A Rwandan soldier serving with the UNAMID stands next to a UN helicopter in North Darfur (Photo AFP)

UNAMID will now require permission to fly its planes. In the past it only needed to notify the state government before flying.

On Friday, the state’s governor Abel-Wahid Youssef, cancelled a meeting with a visiting delegation from the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) saying they failed to meet the specified date and time of the meeting.

At the time, sources told Sudan Tribune that some members of the AUPSC team held UNAMID responsible for lack of coordination which led to the delay of the delegation.

Government officials told Sudan Tribune under the cover of anonymity that the government of North Darfur took the decision to ban UNAMID’s planes after being convinced that the mission deliberately hampered the meeting of the AUPSC team with the governor.

The sources accused the mission of changing the team’s programme by organizing a visit to Khour Abashi IDP’s camp in South Darfur without even informing the competent authorities.

They added that the hybrid mission also organized another visit to an uninhabited IDP’s camp near the headquarters of the Tanzanian peacekeepers.

The same sources pointed that the UNAMID took the AUPSC delegation on board one of its planes to South Darfur without informing the governments of North and South Darfur, stressing the visit was not listed in the official programme of the AUPSC team.

The AUPSC delegation cancelled at the last minute a press conference that was earlier announced by the UNAMID’s public information office without clarifying the reasons.

(ST)

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