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N. Darfur accuses UNAMID of attempting to support anti-election protests


April 16, 2015 (EL-FASHER) – Sudan’s North Darfur state has accused the hybrid UN-African Union peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) of attempting to provide support to students who staged anti-election protests at El-Fasher university.

Peacekeepers from the hybrid UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) in the North Darfur capital, El-Fasher, on 5 July 2010 (Photo: Getty Images)

The residents of several camps for displaced people in the Darfur region and university students organised limited demonstrations against the organisation of presidential and parliamentary elections in the country during the four-day ballot.

The security service accused rebel groups of instigating the protests and mobilising anti-riot forces to surround the areas of gathering and contain the protests.

According the official Radio El-Fasher, a security official said they barred UNAMID peacekeepers for more than three times from entering into the university of the state capital, adding the peacekeepers came with “supplies and weapons” to the protesters.

The local station further said that the governor Osman Kibir summoned on Thursday the head of UNAMID sector in North Darfur, Mohamed al-Swaiffy, and asked him to explain the peacekeepers’ attempts to support the rioters at El Fasher university.

During the meeting which was held in the presence of state security committee members, Kibir pointed to the political character of the protest which he described as an internal matter, adding that the students with the participation of others (rebels) tried to disrupt the election.

The governor further asked international official to provide them with a clear explanation for the UNAMID’s attempt to rush its forces into the university.

The state government rejects the behaviour of the peacekeepers which leads to consider them as “accomplice” in the events of El Fasher University, Kibir said according to the official local media.

The radio further reported that al-Swaiffy denied knowledge of the UNAMID attempts to support the protesters and pledged to provide the state authorities with an official response after conducting the necessary inquires.

Relations between the Sudanese government and UNAMID have sharply deteriorated since the allegations of mass rape in North Darfur’s Tabit village earlier this year.

Sudanese and UN officials are expected to announce the adoption of an exit strategy for UNAMID by the end of this month.

Although two parties were working on the exit strategy before the Tabit incident, the allegations pushed Khartoum to harden its position in the process.

UNAMID, which is mainly tasked with the protection of civilians in the western Sudan region, has also been criticised by rights activists for failing to fulfil its mandate.


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