13 June 2012

Sudan: South Darfur, UN Officials Hold Heated Discussion About Unamid Movement

Khartoum — The movement of the African Union United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) was a source of a heated debate between a regional official and a UN visiting official in Nyala, South Darfur capital on Wednesday.

The controversy begun when South Darfur deputy governor, Abdel Karim Moussa told a UN team visiting the region that UNAMID should inform the Sudanese authorities before to move in order to protect its members.

The head of the UNAMID delegation, the British Tony Prena, told the Sudanese official that the hybrid mission is dispensed from such requirement and has complete freedom of movement in Darfur as per its mandate which is voted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

Sudan complains that the soldiers of the largest peacekeeping operation and its convoys become the main source of supplies and weapons for the rebel groups who used to stop them without any resistance.

The UN visiting team is inspecting the performances of the UNAMID and the security situation in Darfur as the UN, Sudan and the African Union are considering to reduce the number of peacekeepers deployed in the region.

The Mission has to protect civilians, aid groups and to ensure the protection of humanitarian assistance. To this end it runs daily patrols around the camps and deep into the isolated areas. They also escort humanitarian convoys.

Moussa called on the visiting delegation to suggest in its report to allocate some of the UNAMID budget (over one billion and half) to fund recovery and development projects in Darfur.

He also said that security situation has improved and the residents of Darfur camps spend eight months in their villages to cultivate and harvest before to return to the camps near the state capital.

Tijani El-Sissi, head of Darfur Regional Authority told the official SUNA this week that the number of IDPs who returned voluntarily to their villages have reached 192,000 people and according to the UN agencies.

The deputy governor urged the British diplomat to call on the international community to put pressures on rebel leaders leaving in western capitals to join the peace process.

The Sudanese official was alluding to leaders of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) residing in the United Kingdom.

Sudanese government and the former rebel Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) signed a peace agreement in July 2011.

Darfur holdout rebel groups and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement- North (SPLM-N) formed a rebel alliance vowing to topple the government in Khartoum. Sudan accuses South Sudan of supporting this groups.

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