February 22, 2018 (KHARTOUM) – The hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur has started the second phase of its reconfiguration which includes further reductions in UNAMID personnel, is set to begin on 31 January and last until 30 June.
Phase one of the reconfiguration, which was completed on 1 January 2018, includes the closure of 11 UNAMID team sites and reductions in military personnel from 15,845 to 11,395 and in police personnel from 3,403 to 2,888.
“Currently, we are in the process of implementing the second phase of the reconfiguration, which involves a further reduction of military personnel to 8, 735 and police personnel to 2,500 by 30 June 2018,” said UNAMID head in a press conference held in Khartoum on Thursday.
He added they are assessing team sites that will be handed over the Formed Police Units as per UNSCR 2363. The objective is to address any outstanding infrastructure requirements in these sites.
“In this context, refurbishment is currently underway at UNAMID team sites in Korma and Saraf Umra, North Darfur; Masteri, West Darfur; and the El Sereif Temporary Operating Base in North Darfur,” said Jeremiah Mamabolo.
The UNAMID reduction plan is based on the improvements in the security and humanitarian situations as well as the absence of armed clashes between government forces and the armed opposition.
However, the plan provides to exclude Jebel Marra from the force’s reduction and to establish a temporary operating base (TOB) at Golo, Jebel Marra, Central Darfur which would be built during the second phase.
“We are in the process of constructing the temporary base; this is expected to be completed before 30 June 2018,” he said.
Due to the sporadic clashes in the mountainous area between the government forces and the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement- Abdel Wahid faction, the TOB will focus on the protection of displaced civilians and aid workers as well as recurrent inter-communal violence.
Last January in a presidential statement on the situation on Darfur region, the Security Council said concerned by the need for a sustainable solution to the 2.7 displaced persons who have been residing in the camps since 2004.
The 15-member body called on the international community to back the government’s efforts to address IDPs situation but stressed it should be done in harmony with the international law.
Mamabobo who is also the chief mediator for peace in Darfur said he remains engaged with the mediation activities, stressing he is in contact with the armed opposition groups in support of stalled African Union mediation.
“I have sought to impress upon the leaders of the holdout movements the urgent need of signing a cessation of hostilities agreement and subsequently a political settlement to the crisis. We will continue to work towards this end,” he said.