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Sudan Tribune

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Sudan deploys more troops in Darfur: minister

KHARTOUM, Sept 2, 2004 (Xinhua) — Sudan on Thursday deployed more government troops in the western province of Darfur to help restore security and distribute humanitarian relief aid, the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reported.

Sudanese_police_officer.jpgThe deployment of the additional forces and equipment was announced by Sudanese Interior Minister Ahmed Mohamed Haroon, who is also President Omar el-Bashir’s representative to Darfur, said the report.

Haroon was quoted as saying that the additional forces would be followed by a number of battalions to safeguard cities, refugee camps and participate in distributing humanitarian relief aid and maintain security around refugee camps to be set up in the area in coordination with the United Nations.

He, however, did not give a number for the troops being dispatched, but said it brought to 2,600 the number of police forces deployed in the region in recent days.

The minister urged elements of the battalion to set aside their narrow affiliations and provide citizens and property with security.

On the eighth day into talks sponsored by the African Union (AU), the Sudanese government and rebel groups in the troubled region reached their first agreement late Wednesday in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.

The agreement concerns humanitarian aid in Darfur, where more than 50,000 people were killed and over 1.2 million displaced since the start of conflict 18 months ago, it was reported.

Observers said that the two sides made their first progress in peace talks in the Nigerian capital late Wednesday and will move on to the crucial security issue in coming days, adding humanitarian aid in Darfur is the first item in the AU-proposed four-point agenda for Abuja talks.

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