Minawi: ‘Operation launched in Darfur to recover looted UNAMID goods’
The Wali (Governor) of Darfur, Minni Minawi, has confirmed the start of operations to recover the goods looted from the former United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) headquarters in El Fasher. The base in the North Darfur capital was initially plundered on December 24-25, and was subsequently cleared of much of what was left, in a second round of looting last week.
At a press conference at El Fasher airport as he was leaving for Khartoum on Monday, Minawi, announced the distribution of pamphlets to all localities in the Darfur region calling for cooperation in arresting those accused of the looting.
He pointed out that a committee headed by a judge and composed of regular forces and rebel movements, have now managed to empty the UNAMID headquarters, and handed over the duty of guarding of the site to army forces, Rapid Support Forces, and the police.
Minawi stressed the need to restore the security situation, and the need for organisations working in the humanitarian field to remain, referring to concerns voiced by organisations about of the violent events.
Lat week, a group allegedly consisting of members of government forces and former rebels reportedly looted all remaining assets of the UNAMID mission from its former headquarters in the North Darfur capital. Well-informed sources confirm the theft of four-wheel drive vehicles, lorries, equipment, and various other devices, by a large group of army soldiers, paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), policemen, former rebel combatants, and residents of the city. The base has been cleared of everything that was left after it initially was plundered on December 24-25.
Darfur Wali Minni Minawi pledged to recover all the property looted from the (UNAMID) headquarters in El Fasher, as well as the goods looted from warehouses of the World Food Programme (WFP) on December 29, and apologised to the international organisations.
As previously reported by Radio Dabanga, implementing the security arrangements for the Darfur movements with a ‘joint force’ was launched by Sudan’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Lt Gen Khaled El Shami, at the former headquarters of UNAMID mission in El Fasher on Monday.
The ongoing insecurity in Darfur, often partly exacerbated by the vacuum created by the UNAMID drawdown, has meant that the practicalities of the handover of UNAMID sites and facilities have not always gone as planned.
On June 5, two people were killed and eight others sustained injuries when a former UNAMID site in Shangil Tobaya, Dar El Salaam locality, south of El Fasher in North Darfur was looted.
The site was handed over to the Government of Sudan on May 25. It was the last of 14 deep field sites handed over to the Sudanese government. At the time, the North Darfur government and the Sudanese government’s joint task force strongly reconfirmed their commitment to ensure civilian use of the former site.
Since the mission ended its mandate at the end of last year, various former UNAMID sites handed over to local authorities to be used as schools or training centres, have been looted. In February, a site in North Darfur’s Saraf Omra that was earmarked for use as a vocational training centre was looted and ‘levelled’ just weeks after it was handed over to the Sudanese government.
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