Home | News    Monday 23 August 2004

Sudan insists on medical screening of Rwandan troops

KHARTOUM, Sudan, Aug 23, 2004 (PANA) — Sudan’s Foreign ministry has officially
demanded that the country’s health authorities carry out medical
checks on a contingent of Rwandan troops deployed as part of the
African Union (AU) protection force in the restive western region
of Darfur.

Some 150 Rwandan soldiers are in Darfur and 150 more troops are
expected from Nigeria to protect the AU team of observers and
monitors overseeing a shaky cease-fire in the area.

Last Thursday, the Nigerian Senate approved the deployment of
1,500 troops to Darfur, even though Khartoum had officially
indicated its opposition to the idea of a full-fledged AU
peacekeeping force.

"They (Rwandan soldiers) should be in possession of all the
[health] documents expected of any foreign national who arrives
in Sudan," Foreign Affairs minister Mustafa Osman Ismail told a
press conference here on Sunday.

The emphasis came against the backdrop of morbid fears in
Khartoum that the Rwandans may be infected with HIV/AIDS.

Ismail said there was nothing about the Sudanese public
expressing concern and insisting that the Rwandans be medically
cleared for their tour of duty.

He said the federal ministry of Health, in collaboration with the
World Health Organisation will verify if the Rwandan troops
possess the requisite medical papers, adding that the government
can ask anyone or entity to leave the country immediately, if
they were found to be in default of medical requirements.