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North Darfur authorities express reservations over UNAMID’s new security strategy

November 28, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The government of North Darfur State voiced reservations over a security strategy that the United Nations-African Union Peacekeeping Mission in the region (UNAMID) aims to adopt in order to protect civilians in Sudan’s western region, saying it undermines national sovereignty.

Nigerian soldiers from the hybrid United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (Photo: Reuters)

North Darfur governor Osman Kibir told a UNAMID delegation headed by the mission’s Acting Joint Special Representative Aichatou Mindaoudou on Wednesday that the protection of the state’s citizens is considered a direct constitutional responsibility of the government and the state’s security committee.

He warned against interfering with that responsibility and stressed that the government will reject the strategy should it undermine national sovereignty.

Mindaoudou however said that the strategy, which suggests increased cooperation between UNAMID and all sides to guarantee access to violence-affected areas, does not interfere with Sudan’s sovereignty. She also said that UNAMID will propose the strategy to the government in the next few days and discuss it with the relevant authorities.

North Darfur has became the hotspot of violence in the region since the assassination on 1 August of the Commissioner of the district of Alwaha, in Kutum town, which sparked a wave of tribal clashes and attacks by armed militias targeting IDP camps mainly housing members of the Zagawa ethnic community. Armed militias also clashed with regular government forces.

UNAMID has been unable to access areas where attacks by militias occurred. A UNAMID patrol heading to investigate the violence that occurred in Hashaba village in late September was ambushed by an unknown armed group. One peacekeeper was killed in the incident.

Mindaoudou expressed concern that the high incidence of violence in North Darfur will lead to escalation. She called on the state government to facilitate the movement of UNAMID and international organization by enabling them to reach affected areas.

(ST)