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Sudan to start immediate use of UNAMID sites to avoid looting: Khare

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UNAMID team site in Zalingei of Central Darfur state on 18 Sept 2013 (UNAMID photo)
March 24, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan and United Nation agreed to start the civilian use of UNAMID team sites immediately after the evacuation of the peacekeepers to avoid vandalism attacks.

On 4 March, Atul Khare head of the UN Department of Operational Support (DOS) signed a Framework Agreement with the Sudanese Government on the handover of UNAMID team sites and assets, intended exclusively for civilian use.

In an audio interview with the UN News Service released on Tuesday Khare said "reasonable progress" has been made in the ongoing UNAMID liquidation process from Darfur.

Also, he praised the "excellent" cooperation of the Sudanese authorities to achieve the operation before the end of June 2021.

The international official further said the two sides agreed in the framework agreement that civilians must users be identified before the handover of sites and to encourage them to use the sites "from day one".

"I underlined to (the Sudanese officials) that occupation and use of sites is of critical importance because if the site is not used it will be left vacant and more likely be destroyed or looted," he stressed.

He added that the UNAMID headquarters in Zalingei of Central Darfur State will be gradually occupied by the University of Zalingei before the full withdrawal of the UNAMID personnel.

"In the case of Zalingei, we decided even to colocate so gradually the Zalingei University will be coming and locating along with (the peacekeepers) and their presence will keep increasing we will be dropped," said Khare.

Last February, the UNAMID team site in Saraf Omra of North Darfur was looted by civilians from surrounding areas but the authorities quickly reacted and retrieved the looted assets.

In May and December 2019, UNAMID camps in West and South Darfur had been looted by civilians in the two areas.

Recently, the authorities deployed about 6000,00 troops in Darfur to protect civilians and deter tribal violence.

The DOS head said the former UNAMID Supercamp in El-Fasher, the capital of North Darfur State, will be handed over at the end of the liquidation period.

(ST)

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