Panafrican News Agency

Sudan Military Council reverses decision on peacekeepers' locations in Darfur

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) has issued a decree saying the locations to be evacuated by the UN-AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur should be handed over to Darfur local communities.

This reverses an earlier decision that these buildings and sites be given to the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Lieutenant General Abdul Fatah Al Burhan, President of the TMC, said the locations and sites to be evacuated by the peacekeeping force, ran by the UN and the African Union, should be handed to Darfur state's local communities and authorities.

UNAMID used to evacuate these locations within the overall programme of the peace forces’ pullout of Darfur, and hand them to local community programmes that would continue with peace implementation in the region, but not to any of the forces involved in the fight in Darfur, such was the case of the RSF.

The RSF, now part of the Sudanese regular forces, had been used to quell the Darfur rebel movement in the region.

They have been accused of committing gross human rights violations in the region. The RSF have vehemently denied these accusations saying they were only meant to smear a force that was able to beat Darfur rebels in the region.

UNAMID and the UN Security Council were not happy with the first decision and stopped the handover process after they delivered dozens of such locations to the regional authorities and civil society organizations.

The United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2429 (2018) called for the closure of 10 Team Sites across Darfur as part of the Mission’s reconfiguration process.

By December 2018, UNAMID handed over the Team Sites: Mukjar in Central Darfur; El Sereif, Um Baru and Korma in North Darfur; Masteri and Mournei in West Darfur; Shearia and Labado in East Darfur; Graida and Buram in South Darfur.

The camps were handed to local universities, prisons, health, police, social services and other entities that serve the local communities or improve services provided there.

The United Nations African Union peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) within the phase out set to be completed after 2020, had recommended that in line with general UN practices in post-conflict regions, the Government of Sudan transforms team sites and other locations handed to them, into education, health, security and recreational facilities accessible to the local communities as a way of contributing to the overall development of Darfur.

The UNAMID Mission was established in 2007, following a civil war that broke out in 2003. It was sought to protect civilians and to help the government and the rebels reach peace.

After 2016 peace reigned in the region and Sudan in 2017-18, started calling for a pullout from Darfur.

Within a tripartite committee - Sudan, the African union and the United Nations - started negotiating the process of the phased pull out and in so doing the forces were handing over massive establishments and buildings they erected in the region to the local authorities and civil society organizations.

-0- PANA MO/MA 23June2019