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Darfur armed groups say UNAMID is needed to protect civilians

UNAMID peacekeepers on patrol in Sortony, North Darfur on 10 Nov 2016 (UNAMID Photo)
June 2, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Security conditions are not met for the withdrawal of hybrid peacekeeping operation from western Sudan region, said Darfur armed groups participating in the Juba-mediated peace process in Juba.

The Security Council is expected to extend the withdrawal of the UNMAID for 31 December as the UN peacekeeping department it was not possible to meet the initial date of 31 October due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 measures on the drawdown schedule.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, Ahmed Tugod Lissan the Chief Negotiator for the groups of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) participating in Darfur Track said that the UNAMID is needed to protect civilians due to the “fragile” security situation.

“If such a departure were to take place now, or even in the near future without guarantees for achieving the necessary conditions of security and civilian protection, then UNAMID’s departure would be such a threat,” said Lissan.

He further said that a future peace agreement requires the UNAMID presence to take part in the implementation of the security arrangements.

“The implementation of a peace agreement will require numerous processes and conditions—such as the disarmament and demobilization of combatants, the return of displaced persons, and the recovery of property—that have the potential to create additional tensions, thus, further necessitating a strong and capable UNAMID presence,” he said.

The transitional government and the armed groups are expected to initial a peace agreement on 20 June despite the recent rift within the SRF groups and the withdrawal of the SLM-Minni Minnawi from the umbrellas of the armed groups.

The Sudanese government has rejected maintaining the hybrid mission or to add police units to a new mission that Sudan requested to support in the government to achieve the democratic transition and the implementation of the would-be signed peace agreement.

Instead, the new mission will include military experts and advisers to support the deployment of troops for the protection of civilians and to implement the security arrangements with the armed groups.