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South Africa to withdraw 'unsupported' troops from Darfur mission

May 12 - 2016 CAPE TOWN
File photo: South African peacekeepers in Darfur (Unamid)
File photo: South African peacekeepers in Darfur (Unamid)

South African Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says a decision has been taken to withdraw the South African defence forces from Darfur in Sudan, due to difficult working conditions.

The Minster announced this when she tabled the department's Budget Vote in the National Assembly, on Wednesday.

"The Sudanese government made it increasingly difficult for us to provide logistic support to our troops, and impossible for our forces to protect the women and children of that country," she said.

The Minister said as a result of unfavourable conditions, a decision was taken to withdraw the force with effect from 1 April.

"This force will not be replaced. A team of logistical experts will manage the withdrawal of remaining SA National Defence Force assets over a six months period," she said.

The announcement comes after South Africa had deployed forces to the Darfur region as part of the United Nations (UN)/ African Union (AU) hybrid mission.

The UN/AU hybrid mission, which was established in 2007, was given a mandate to protect civilians and contribute to security for humanitarian assistance, monitoring and verifying implementation of agreements, assisting an inclusive political process and contributing to the promotion of human rights.

Minister Mapisa-Nqakula has been facing increasing domestic pressure within South Africa to prioritise and rationalise defence spending.

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