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Sudan Tribune

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140 Indonesian peacekeepers arrive to Darfur Sunday

October 11, 2008 (EL FASHER) – A unit of Indonesian police officers are expected to arrive in Darfur tomorrow for a one-year tour of duty in Darfur, the hybrid peacekeeping mission announced on Saturday.

The 140 Indonesian police officers will arrive to the capital of northern Darfur on Sunday October 12. They are specialized in high risk operations and protection of people in immediate danger. They will be based in El Fasher.

Out of this number, 30 officers will perform specialized support services in the medical and engineering fields.

Last Tuesday October 7, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he has delayed his goal of putting 22,000 of the authorized 26,000 troops on the ground by the end of this year. The African Union-United Nations hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) currently numbers about 10,000. Ban said he hopes to reach 17,000 by January and the 22,000 mark around March.

The Formed Police Unit will be engaged in preventing attacks on, and threats against civilians, monitoring and providing security and protection in IDPs camps, threatened villages as well as migration routes.

The Unit will, in addition, assist national authorities and UN agencies in providing humanitarian assistance, conduct escort patrols in order to enhance confidence building of the local population.

The Indonesian Formed Police contingent is the second, after the Bangladeshi unit, to be deployed in Darfur. At full strength, UNAMID will have 19 Formed Police Unit on the ground.

In July, the U.N. Security Council renewed the peace mission despite a raging debate over whether it should invoke its power to suspend the International Criminal Court’s efforts to prosecute President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir on genocide and war crimes charges.

The Darfur conflict began in early 2003. U.N. experts estimate more than 300,000 were killed and 2 million have been driven from their homes by the conflict in Darfur, a region that is roughly the size of France.