UN says 13,651 peacekeepers now in Darfur

New York- US (PANA) -- The UN said here on Tuesday that 13,651 peacekeepers have so far been deployed to Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region.
The Pan African News Agency (PANA) reports that the peacekeeping force, known as the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), is expected to have 26,000 troops, police and civilian personnel at full deployment.
``The United Nations is pleased to confirm that 13,651 uniformed personnel have been deployed to UNAMID, representing 70 per cent of the mission's authorised mi l itary strength of 19,555 personnel,'' an update on the deployment said.
It disclosed that the recent increase in the number of the peacekeepers followed Tuesday's deployment of the first batch of infantry soldiers from Burkina Faso.
It stated ``An advance party of 134 soldiers arrived in Nyala, the capital of So uth Darfur state, on Tuesday, with another 133 scheduled to arrive next Tuesday' ' .
UNAMID also said that the remaining members of the infantry battalion, totalling more than 800 soldiers, are expected to be deployed by mid-September in El Gene i na and Foro Baranga in West Darfur state.
The mission also reported that more troops from Ethiopia, Tanzania and Egypt are expected to be deployed in Darfur later this month to further boost its strengt h .
UNAMID was set up by the UN Security Council in 2007 to protect civilians in Dar fur, where an estimated 300,000 people have been killed and another 2.
7 million d isplaced from their homes since fighting erupted in 2003 between rebels, Sudanes e forces and allied militiamen, known as the Janjaweed.
The mission had so far lost 14 personnel in separate attacks by rebel forces, si nce its deployment in 2007.
PANA also reports that UNAMID is still crippled by a lack of sufficient helicopt ers and other ground transportation facilities for effective discharge of its du t ies.
Recently, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on UN member states to pro vide the â?critical logistical equipment'' needed to empower the mission.
``More than a year after it was set up, the UN-AU hybrid operation in Darfur sti ll lacks critical logistical equipment, especially air power,â? Ban said in a re cent report he presented to the UN Security Council.
``The provision of outstanding equipment, in particular military helicopters, re mains critical to increasing the mobility and operational impact of the mission, ' ' he added.

05 august 2009 15:06:00

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