The wali (governor) of North Darfur, Mohamed Arabi, met with the UN Undersecretary-General for the Department of Operational Support, Atul Khare, on Thursday, to discuss arrangements for the smooth exit of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and how to protect civilians under the new UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in the Sudan (UNITAMS).
Khare welcomed the steps taken by the state government to protect civilians. "We must work in the Security Council to strengthen the efforts of UNITAMS, including strong mechanisms to protect civilians." He also stressed the importance of using UNAMID headquarters and holdings for civilian purposes.
He called for the importance of making all efforts to overcome the challenges facing the transition and implementing the provisions of the peace agreement, and stressed UN support for the Juba Peace Agreement.
The government of North Darfur pledged to make the best use of the premises and belongings left behind by the outgoing UNAMID, in accordance with the UN Security Council's resolution No. 2559, which stipulates they are handed over “to designated entities”.
The offices and sites will be used in accordance with the state government's priorities to support education, health, water and roads, said the North Darfur wali.
Arabi gave the UN official “an insight into all the security and humanitarian situations in the state and the challenges facing the transitional government,” and praised UNAMID efforts during the previous period. He confirmed that the government has a “well-prepared plan” to protect civilians, which consists of the formation of joint forces to carry out protection after UNAMID departs.
This announcement follows the deployment of a joint security force, consisting of Central Reserve Police, Sudanese Armed Forces, and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in January in West Darfur in order to protect the people from violence, after 162 people were killed, about 215 people were injured, and roughly 90,000 were forced to flee from the El Geneina massacre in January. RSF 'Peace Shield Forces' were deployed in certain localities in North and South Darfur in February to deal with a severe lack of security.
On December 31, the UN Security Council ended the mandate of UNAMID, nearly 13 years after its deployment to the region, which stirred up many protests throughout the country as many feared that, with the mission leaving, security would decrease and violence and crime rates would go up.
Khare also met with Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Maryam El Sadig El Mahdi, at her office in Khartoum on Monday. Officer-in-Charge of UNAMID, M’Baye Babacar Cissé, was also in attendance. During the meeting, they discussed the UNAMID drawdown, including UN cooperation with Sudanese government and local authorities “to facilitate seamless drawdown and liquidation processes.”
Unidentified gunmen looted a commercial vehicle on the Zalingei-Nierteti road in Central Darfur on Wednesday. Adam Okarou told Radio Dabanga that seven gunmen shot at a vehicle eight kilometers west of Nierteti, and looted cargo and money from passengers.
A report of the incident has been filed to the Nierteti police. In February, Radio Dabanga reported three separate robberies in Nierteti.