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Sudanese president urges UNAMID to leave Darfur

November 30, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese president Omer al-Bashir said the African union United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has become a security burden and called on the peacekeepers to leave the country.

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Peacekeepers from the hybrid UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) in the North Darfur capital, El-Fasher, on 5 July 2010 (Photo: Getty Images)

“We want a clear plan for the exit of UNAMID from Darfur,” Bashir said in a press conference held on Sunday, adding: “We have instructed the foreign ministry to work with the United Nations to end the presence of UNAMID in Darfur.”

Relations between the hybrid operation in Darfur and the Sudanese government after reports accusing the Sudanese army of mass rape in North Darfur earlier in November.

The Sudanese authorities denied the allegations of sexual abuse and accused the mission of echoing unverified media reports before to investigate it. Khartoum also summoned the acting head of the mission following a report saying that the heavy presence of military and police made a conclusive investigation difficult.

Sudanese president stressed that “UNAMID has become a security burden on the Sudanese army more than a supportive to its forces in the protection of civilians, and unable to protect themselves”.

“UNAMID has failed to protect civilians and instead become protector to the rebels,” he said.

The joint peacekeeping mission recently confirmed receipt of a note verbal from the government of Sudan referring to the need for an exit strategy.

In August the UN Security Council in its resolution 2173 extended the mission’s mandate for 10 more months and suggested it consider forming advance plans for its eventual departure from Darfur.

Bashir accused foreign circles saying they are behind the alleged rape of 200 women in Darfur adding they intend to disturb the stability in the region as the army “managed to defeat the rebel movements which now have limited presence in some pockets”.

“They want to escalate the issue to confuse the improvement of the (security) situation in Darfur and the increasing development projects there,” he said.

(ST)