Nigeria awaits AU green-light for Darfur deployment

Abuja- Nigeria (PANA) -- Nigeria is to deploy a battalion of troops to Sudan's troubled western region of Darfur as soon the African Union (AU) provides the logistics for the deployment, Nigerian Army Spokesman Mohammed Yussuf said Tuesday.
"They (troops) are on standby, ready to go anytime," Yussuf told PANA in Abuja, adding: "It is only logistics that can delay them.
Once the logistics are provided from the African Union, the troops would move.
" The more than 700 troops for the Darfur mission are drawn from the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army.
They would join 300 African troops from Rwanda and Nigeria, already in Darfur to help protect some 80 unarmed military observers monitoring the April ceasefire between the Sudanese government and the two main Darfur rebel groups that have been fighting the government since February 2003.
Last week, the AU Peace and Security Council voted to increase the number of peacekeepers in Darfur to more than 3,000.
The Union is also to send a team of more than 800 police officers to help monitor efforts to end violence that has left an estimated 70,000 people dead and displaced more than 1.
5 million others, while the number of the AU military observers is also to be increased to 450.
The one-year AU operation, estimated to cost 220 million US dollars, would be funded mainly by the European Union and the US.
Meanwhile, the AU-mediated peace talks between the warring Sudanese parties have resumed in the Nigerian capital of Abuja towards a political settlement of the conflict that has unleashed what the UN calls the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

26 october 2004 15:28:00

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