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African Union, UN condemn looting of UNAMID base in West Darfur

UNAMID Sector North officially handed over the Mission's team site in Malha to the Government of Sudan on 16 August 2017 (UNAMID photo)
May 18, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The African Union and the United Nations condemned the looting of the premises of the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Western Darfur state, but the military governor said the UNAMID officials were in part responsible for the attack.

On 14 May 2019, the eve of UNAMID’s scheduled handover of its headquarters in El Geneina to the Sudanese authorities, an uncontrollable crowd forcefully intruded into the 16 km camp where they looted UN property and contingent-owned-equipment, vandalized premises, according to a statement released by the mission.

In reaction to this unprecedented development, the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security Sma?l Chergui and the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix issued a joint statement to express their strong condemnation of the attack and the looting.

"They are extremely concerned by such unprovoked attacks on UNAMID, which has diligently and resolutely provided security to the people of Darfur since 2007," said the joint statement.

Chergui and Lacroix further stressed that UNAMID’s withdrawal process from Darfur will continue as per the decisions of the African Union Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council.

The UNAMID dispatched troop from its new Headquarters in Zalingei and Saraf Umra to El Geneina to strengthen to protect the site before the planned handover of the camp on 15 May.

In a news conference held on Saturday, Maj-Gen Abdel Khaliq Badawi Mahmoud, the governor of West Darfur state, condemned the attacks and looting on the headquarters of the UNAMID in El Geneina.

Mahmoud said that there were several factors that caused the incident, including obstacles set by the administration of the Mission and procrastination in completing the handover process and the behaviour of some of its employees.

The governor said that the procrastination and methods adopted by the UNAMID staff with the state committee for the site handover contributed to the stampede of citizens in large numbers from West Darfur and neighbouring states and the attack on the site.

He added that the security authorities seized a large number of equipment sold by the base officials to companies and individuals after classifying it as not valid for use.

He added that they were surprised that the same pieces of equipment are in good condition and sold in the local markets. He added they sized these materials and equipment until the completion of the investigation.

The official news agency SUNA said that the material damage caused by the attack was estimated at 500 million US dollars.

(ST)