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UNAMID to fully withdraw from South Darfur in January: official

UNAMID Sector North officially handed over the Mission's team site in Malha to the Government of Sudan on 16 August 2017 (UNAMID photo)
November 5, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The Government of South Darfur said arrangements are underway to receive two sites from the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) next month pointing that the Mission’s main site in the state would be handed over in early January.

The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) has quoted the presidential commissioner tasked with receiving UNAMID’s sites Issa Basi as saying the Mission would hand over its last site in South Darfur in January according to the agreed exit strategy.

He pointed out that the Mission would hand over two sites at Graida and Buram next month, saying these sites will be used for community projects.

Basi further said that Darfur in general and particularly South Darfur State no longer needs the presence of UNAMID, stressing security and stability have been restored in the region.

A tripartite working group including the Sudanese government, African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) has been set up in February 2015 to develop an exit strategy for the UNAMID from Darfur.

In June 2017, the AU and the UN decided to draw down the UNAMID by withdrawing the military personnel by 44% and that of the police component by 30%, the closure of 11 team sites in the first phase and the withdrawal of the military component from another 7 team sites in the second phase.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) admitted that the security situation in Darfur has improved but it decided to reinforce its presence in the mountainous area of Jebel Marra because there is no cessation of hostilities as a Sudan Liberation Movement faction led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) refuses to declare a unilateral truce or to engage in peace negotiations.

Last July, the UNSC unanimously decided to extend for one year the mandate of the UNAMID and also to reduce the number of its troops in line with an exit strategy aiming to close the hybrid operation in two years.

The hybrid mission has been deployed in Darfur since December 2007 with a mandate to stem violence against civilians in western Sudan’s region.

It is the world’s second-largest international peacekeeping force with an annual budget of $1.35 billion and almost 20,000 troops. UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the Darfur conflict since 2003, and over 2.5 million are displaced.