Home | News    Sunday 29 August 2004

Tanzania sets pre-condition for sending peacekeepers to trouble Sudan’s Darfur

DAR ES SALAAM, Aug 29, 2004 (Xinhua) — The Tanzanian defense minister has made clear the conditions for the east African country’s troops to go to Darfur as requested by the African Union (AU) as peacekeepers, local press reported Sunday.

Philemon Sarungi told local newspaper Sunday News that Tanzania is ready to send troops to the troubled Sudanese region of Darfur with the condition that there is cessation of all hostilities.

"We are ready at anytime to go to Sudan because this is a noble African duty," said the defense minister, "However, we will only send our troops to Sudan when we are assured that Tanzanians will be peacekeepers and just that."

The official fears that the Tanzanian troops might well have to trade fires with those rebels in Darfur. "We must be assured that our people will not exchange bullets with any group or party to that conflict. We do not want to be part of that problem," said the minister.

The United Nations has described the Darfur issue as currently the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and has given the Sudan until the end of this week to demonstrate willingness to disarm the rebels or face possible sanctions.

Tanzania has agreed to send 100 troops to serve as part of the UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur but has been considering whether to meet the request by the African Union to send troops as part of the AU peacekeeping force.

The Darfur crisis has escalated since February 2003 with over 10,000 people being reportedly killed by the Arab militia called Janjaweed and more than 1 million others displaced.