After a lengthy period of negotiations, the 1st January 2008 saw a mixed United Nations/African force becoming responsible for keeping the peace in the troubled Sudanese region of Darfur.
Despite the move, the force is considered to be significantly lacking in manpower.
Unamid Intended to Become Largest Global Peacekeeping Force
Under the title of Unamid, the force takes over the Darfur peacekeeping role from the previous African Union mission. Comprised of 26,000 soldiers, Unamid is intended to become the globally dominant peacekeeping force. Â
The takeover took place during a ceremony in which, symbolically, the figure commanding the African Union force exchanged his green beret for the blue equivalent worn by the UN.
Sudan Accused of Limiting Darfur Troop Supply
It has been claimed that Sudan has acted to block Unamid from being fully deployed, through its insistence that the operation be confined to Muslim and African troops. The situation has been conflated by the limited provision of helicopters by the countries involved.
Helicopters are viewed as paramount to Unamidâs ability to move around Darfur and lessen the areaâs violence.
200,000+ Casualties in Darfur since 2002
Since 2002, upwards of 200,000 people have been killed in the conflict, with a further 2.5 million civilians evacuating their homes.
The head of Unamid, Rodolphe Adada, has urged for additional troop support to arrive âas quickly as possibleâ, highlighting a determination to â...deploy the most robust force possible so that it can carry out effectively the difficult mandate the Security Council has entrusted to it."
An additional 2,000 troops have been deployed to Darfur, with a further amount to follow later this month, according to AU spokesman Noureddine Mezni. However, he added, the 26,000 target is âmonthsâ away from being attained, and more helicopters are vitally needed.
"In an area like Darfur, the size of France, we cannot do the job properly without these thingsâ, he said, adding: âWe appeal to the international community and all those able to provide us with these things to do so as soon as possible.â
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Source â Armed Forces Internationalâs African Reporter
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