This week Sudan agreed to a hybrid AU-UN force of 19,000 troops, however details over control has continued to be an issue of debate. Currently the plan is for the UN to have overall control of the mission with the AU having responsibility for the day-to-day responsibilities. Similar agreements in the past have failed due to Khartoum’s opposition. Both the US and UK have warned that if Sudan continues to resist peacekeepers, sanctions will be imposed.
UN Security Council envoys are due to hold talks with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on deployment soon. Western diplomats are looking for an exact timetable for deployment of peacekeeping force. A Sudanese diplomat stated that troops could be in Darfur by October, depending on the time it takes the two organizations to get troops and funds.
Meanwhile, British aid agency Oxfam has stated that they are leaving Darfur due to safety concerns for its workers. Three aid agencies based in Geneva were attacked by a rebel group in December. One aid worker was beaten, another was raped, and several were subjected to mock executions. Oxfam has stated they are withdrawing due to a lack of prosecution for the crime and a lack of assurances that such an attack would not happen again. Oxfam has been supplying water, sanitation and healthcare to 130,000 people in refugee camps outside Gereida town.
Violence in Darfur has killed more than 200,000 people and turned 2.5 million people into refugees. Much of the violence has been the cause of clashes between government-sponsored Janjaweed militias and Darfur rebel groups.
For more information, please see:
BBC – UN Talks Darfur detail with Sudan – 18 June 2007
Kenya Broadcasting Corporation – UN, Sudan to discuss Darfur plan – 17 June 2007
Sudan Tribune – Hybrid peacekeeping force could be in Darfur by October – 13 June 2007