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One dead as newly transferred North Darfur UNAMID base looted

December 26 - 2021 EL FASHER
Looters load equipment onto vehicles as the former UNAMID logistical base is looted on Friday evening (Photo: Social media)
Looters load equipment onto vehicles as the former UNAMID logistical base is looted on Friday evening (Photo: Social media)

One man has died of gunshot wounds in an exchange of fire with security forces after buildings and containers of equipment at the former African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID)* logistical base north of El Fasher, were looted on Friday evening.

Witnesses confirmed that “hundreds of people” invaded the camp and made off with furniture and equipment. There was also extensive damage to the site as a result of vandalism. Activists said that the looting occurred “under the noses of the security forces”.

In an emergency meeting, the North Darfur State Security Committee announced a package of measures and decisions to protect the remaining headquarters and personnel of the mission, and to redeploy the join Special Task Force of Sudan Armed Forces (SAF, Rapid Support Forces (RSF), police, and elements of the rebel movements to Jadeed El Sail.

The northern part of the UNAMID Super Camp was handed over to the North Darfur state authorities on Monday by Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (DSRSG), and Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Khardiata Lo N’Diaye. During the handover, Lo N’Diaye underlined the importance of continued support to the UNAMID liquidation team, and highlighted the need for the camp and the facilities within it to be used for the benefit of the people of Darfur.

At the handover in El Fasher on Monday, Lo N’Diaye expressed her concern over the safety and security of the UNAMID liquidation team, and integrity of the assets, and emphasised the obligation of the government to protect UNAMID personnel and take robust measures to prevent any form of threats or violence towards the camp and personnel.

In a statement following the emergency meeting via the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA), the North Darfur State Security Committee confirmed that “part of the buildings of the UNAMID were exposed to looting operations on Friday afternoon and evening” by a party or parties that the committee did not name. The committee confirmed that “these parties broke the containers and looted the equipment of the state government”.

The State Security Committee said that the joint forces prevented citizens from looting, but that “other groups fired shots at the headquarters”. Othman Abdullah Saleh was wounded by gunfire and died.

The State Security Committee expressed its regret for this “disgraceful behaviour”, and announced a package of measures and decisions to protect the headquarters and personnel of the mission present at UNAMID.

In a statement via social media, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations for Sudan (SRSG) and head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission In Sudan (UNITAMS), Volker Perthes, voiced his “extreme disappointment” over Friday’s looting of the UNAMID base. “The equipment stolen was for protection of civilians by Darfur authorities. Protection of civilians should be number one priority for both the state and armed groups involved in the looting,” Perthes said.

Looting

As previously reported by Radio Dabanga, 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.


*UNAMID (Source: UN)

During UNAMID’s 13-year mandate, more than 100,000 military and police peacekeepers were contributed by dozens of countries from around the world. At its peak deployment in 2011, it had nearly 23,000 troops and police.

At the beginning of the drawdown period in January 2021, 7,000 military, police, and civilian personnel remained to be separated and repatriated, with over 6,000 now repatriated.

UNAMID, one of the largest peacekeeping operations in the history of the United Nations, created a security environment in Darfur and will be departing with a history of achievements supporting the protection of civilians, particularly the internally displaced persons, community stabilisation and rule of law support, the provision of humanitarian aid as well as supporting the implementation of the peace process. The Mission also worked to empower women; addressed sexual and gender-based violence; protected and promoted human rights; and helped with the fight against COVID-19.

Facts and Figures

Protection of civilians

- 38,000 peacekeeping patrols conducted annually to protect hundreds of thousands of IDPs.

Programmatic activities

- 120 meetings, dialogue forums and peace campaigns with farmers and nomadic herders to mitigate intercommunal violence, promoting peaceful coexistence and facilitating amicable use of scarce shared natural resources.

- 500+ quick impact projects were implemented in Darfur, including 94 water boreholes and water points were established in hotspots.

Community Stabilisation

- Rehabilitation of classrooms, construction of prosecution offices, community security and small arms control, provision of solar panels and temporary job creation for at-risk youth.

State Liaison Functions (SLF)

- 46 million USD allocated to SLF in 2 years.

- 10 UN Agencies, Funds and Pgrammes participated in SLF programming.

COVID-19

- $1.9 million USD allocated by UNAMID/UNCT for COVID-19 response in FY 2019/20 – SLF 4

- Training of trainers workshops and sensitisation sessions on COVID-19.

- 30+ different types of PPE donated to communities in Darfur (goggles, gloves masks, etc.)

Police and Rule of Law

- 45 Sudan Police Force stations/posts, 15 prosecution offices, 19 District Courts, 14 prisons and 14 rural courts to support policing services, dispensation of justice and addressed intercommunal conflicts and criminality.

Security Sector

- 1,300+ former child soldiers released who were registered by Sudan Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (SDDRC) in Darfur.

- 11,000 ex-combatants were demobilised and benefitted from reinsertion packages.

Gender

- 54 Women’s Protection Networks supported across the five Darfur States which provide real time information as first responders to security threats, including incidents of physical assault, rape, killings and abductions in the field to the security apparatus, for quick response.

- 120 women were brought to Juba peace talks from Darfur.

Drawdown

- 14 team sites handed over in less than 4 months.

- 5 team sites looted, 3 team sites faced criminality.

- 7,000 personnel at start of drawdown. 6,000 separated/repatriated.

- 363 police will remain with Guard Unit during liquidation period.

- 103 SLF activities remained to be implemented in January, 28 core programmatic projects.

- 99 UNAMID staff were embedded with AFPs to support the implementation (during drawdown.

- 5 contingents’ COE has been sent/returned to home country (2 Jordanian FPU, Senegalese FPU, Kenyan military police unit).

- 60 trucks of COE leave the Logistics Base/day en route to Port Sudan.


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