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Former Darfur rebels disturbed UNAMID drawdown: UN Khare

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Atul Khare briefs UNSC about UNAMID withdrawal from Darfur on 27 July 2021 (UN photo)July 25, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - The former rebel groups disturbed the withdrawal operation of the UNAMID peacekeepers in El-Fasher the capital of North Darfur state, the Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support Atul Khare told the Security Council on Tuesday.

Khare briefed the 15-member council on the drawdown and closure of the AU-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), which exited the western Sudan region by the 30th June 2021 in line with resolution 2559 adopted on 22 December 2020.

Except for the members of a Guard Unit, the Mission completed the repatriation of almost 6,000 troops and police and nearly 1200 civilian personnel.

He told the meeting that five armed movements and Sudanese government troops, camping near the UNMAID compound in El Fasher, had disturbed the drawdown operation, according to a briefing about the meeting by the UN Security Council.

"After initial confusion led to the disruption of UNAMID movements — and in some cases, harassment of United Nations personnel — he said movements have proceeded as needed in recent weeks," reads the report.

The head of the UN operational support added he will closely monitor the liquidation process "based on his discussions with the chairman of the Sovereign Council, his deputy, the new Darfur governor and North Darfur governor.

Reacting to this issue, Enrique Javier Ochoa Martínez of Mexico said the armed groups in Darfur "should refrain from interfering with UNAMID convoys".

Also, Brian Patrick Flynn of Ireland regretted the incident and urged the Sudanese government to "ensure the withdrawal of all armed elements positioned around the El Fasher site, and by taking steps to avoid further looting".

He outlined plans to support the team that remains through the disposal of remaining assets across two liquidation phases:

The liquidation period of the UN assets and equipment in Darfur will be enforced in two phases. The first from 1 July to 30 September 2021 will involve the withdrawal of retained United Nations assets, sales at market value, and the destruction of equipment subject to end-user restrictions. From 1 October 2021 until the end of June 2022 remaining UNAMID assets will be donated to public institutions and NGOs.

UNAMID remaining personnel and assets are now consolidated within the El Fasher logistics facility. There are some staff based in Khartoum and Port Sudan to support the interaction with authorities during UNAMID’s liquidation.

The Guard Unit remains in El Fasher to provide internal security to remaining UN personnel.

(ST)

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