By Jared Kleinman
Impunity Watch Reporter, Africa
NYALA, Sudan — Twenty six thousand troops have been deployed to Sudan in a bid to restore order to the crisis-ridden country and aid in the integration of African states through conflict-resolution.
This number is reported to be the largest single ever deployed by the United Nations. Chairman of the African Union and the President of the Pan-African Parliament, Mr. Jean Ping, said this Monday while addressing the press after the First Ordinary Sessions of the African Parliament in Midrand, South Africa. According to Ping, the decision to position the huge number of troops was informed by the desire to prevent the killings, and keep the peace objectives, which he said have almost been achieved.
The force, known as the UN African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), will be largely composed of Africans and will consist of nearly 20,000 military personnel and 6,000 police officers. For the first 12 months, the UN force will incorporate the AU troops into their mission. UNAMID is tasked with acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to support the “early and effective implementation” of last year’s Darfur Peace Agreement between the Government and the rebels, and it is also mandated to protect civilians, prevent armed attacks and ensure the security of aid workers and its own personnel and facilities.
When the United Nations Security Council made the decision in 2007 to deploy troops to Sudan, the conflict had already amassed more than 200,000 deaths and dislocated more than 2.5 million people. Currently, Sudan has more displaced people than any other country in the world. A 2008 report released by the Norwegian Refugee Council stated that the country had 4.9 million displaced people, or about one in eight of the population, more than half of them in Darfur.
“We have a minimum of 160 deaths every month and 56 women raped this month of April. This month also we have 136 people detained by the security forces,” said spokesperson of Darfur Hussein Abu Sharati in May 2008. The spokesperson further said they collected their information from all the IDPs (Internally Displaced People) camps.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the mission “historic and unprecedented.” It will come after months of Sudanese resistance and will cost about $2 billion in its first year, reports The New York Times. “You are sending a clear and powerful signal of your commitment to improve the lives of the people of the region and close this tragic chapter in Sudan’s history,” Ban told the Security Council.
For more information, please see:
All Africa – 26,000 Troops Deployed to Sudan – 28 October 2009
Institute for War & Peace Reporting – Darfur Rebel Questions Neutrality of Peacekeeping Base – 27 October 2009
Sudan Tribune – Darfur Displaced Dismiss UN-AU Monthly Death Figures – 4 May 2009
The Christian Science Monitor – Sudan Agrees to 26,000 UN Troops in Darfur – 2 August 2007