UN extends Darfur peacekeeping mission for one year

Sudanese demonstrators march during a protest in Bahri. (Photo AFP)

The UN Security Council on Thursday agreed to extend its peacekeeping mission in Sudan's Darfur region following a recommendation from the new government in Khartoum.

The UN-African Union mission in the conflict-torn region, known as UNAMID, was set to draw down, but in June the Security Council voted to extend the mission's mandate by another four months until the end of October.

That decision was taken in the midst of a political crisis in Sudan that saw President Omar al-Bashir ousted after three decades in power and replaced by a joint civilian-military sovereign council, with a civilian-led cabinet put in charge of the day-to-day running of the country.

Thursday's UN resolution came after the new government in Khartoum recommended a cautious approach to the situation in Darfur, a diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The text maintains the troops strength of UNAMID at 7,800 peacekeepers until March 31 of next year.

The AU and UN are to submit a joint report by January, which the Security Council will use to decide by the end of March whether to maintain troop levels until the end of the mandate in October 2020 or resume the reduction in peacekeepers.

The council in June 2018 agreed to push ahead with a series of phased drawdowns with a view to shutting down the mission in 2020, but al-Bashir's ouster upended that plan.

Deployed in 2007, UNAMID numbered 16,000 troops and police at its height.

Darfur rebels took up arms against the Khartoum government in 2003, triggering fighting that has left more than 300,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced.

 

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