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Darfur displaced concerned about Unamid exit, demand replacement

November 24 - 2014 EL FASHER

Internally displaced people in Darfur have agreed that troops of Unamid should not leave the region before they are replaced with alternative forces to protect the civilian and displaced population. The peacekeeping mission confirmed it has received a request from Khartoum to put an exit strategy from Darfur in place.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, Hussein Abu Sharati, the spokesman for the Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association, said that the association refuses a departure of Unamid, as the Foreign Ministry is suggesting.

“We will not accept their departure at all until they are replaced by European or American forces that protect the displaced people,” Sharati said. He accused Unamid of having “a clear lack of care towards the displaced” and “implementing the government’s agenda”.

The spokesman explained that, although the displaced people know that the peacekeepers do not serve them, nor do anything for victims, they yet adhere to their presence as representatives of the prestigious United Nations. He claimed that there has been “a decline of 10 percent” in the intimidation of criminals and committing of crimes in Darfur.

He added that the displaced population will be targeted more if the mission withdraws. “This would make it difficult for new UN forces to return to Sudan.” Sharati called upon the UN to increase the number of Unamid troops.

‘Exit strategy is contained in resolution’

Unamid confirmed in statements to Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) on Saturday the mission had “received a note verbal from the government of Sudan referring to the need for an exit strategy”, over two weeks ago. Spokesman Ashraf Eisa added that consideration of an exit strategy is already contained in UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2173.

The Foreign Minister of Sudan, Ali Karti, has harshly criticised the Unamid and accused it of failing to comply with its mandate. The mission does not serve the peace process as required, he said.

On Saturday, the Minister was quoted by Radio Omdurman as saying it warns the UN to either abide by the purpose for which they came to Darfur – by realising security and advance the peace process – or leave Sudan. “We are capable of protecting our country.”

Karti added that “Unamid turned to the monitoring of fabricated news, and wants to distort the reputation of Sudan, because it seeks to find her an excuse and justification for continuing to stay in Darfur”.

On 9 November, a Unamid verification team, in the presence of many Sudanese soldiers and security forces, investigated the rape allegations in Tabit, North Darfur. It stated it had found no evidence proving the claims of a mass rape occurring there on 31 October. The army has denied the accusations, and Sudan has refused to allow the mission access to Tabit to conduct a second investigation.

File photo: Unamid police facilitate English classes for displaced women in Darfur (Albert González Farran / UN Photo)

Related: Sudan: 'Exit Unamid not owing to mass rape investigation' (21 November 2014)

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