Unamid leaves base in North Darfur’s El Malha
Unamid has officially handed its team site in El Malha locality in North Darfur to the Sudanese government on Wednesday.
In a press release, Unamid said the withdrawal is part of Unamid’s ongoing reconfiguration as mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 2363.
At the end of June, the UN and the AU decided to downsize their joint peacekeeping mission in Darfur by about one third of the troops. This means that 18 team sites would be closed.
The hybrid mission was deployed in Darfur in December 2007, with a mandate to protect the people of Darfur against hostilities. It has been the world’s second largest international peacekeeping force, after the force in Congo, with an annual budget of $1.35 billion and almost 20,000 troops.
The USA that contributes more than 28 per cent to the UN $7.8 billion peacekeeping budget, recently announced that it will cut nearly $1.3 billion from October onwards.
On 14 June, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations El Ghassim Wane told the UNSC that a gradual restructuring of Unamid should take place, given “the significantly lower level of armed hostilities in Darfur”.
The Sudanese government, that has been pushing for the exit of Unamid for years, welcomed the UN decision, claiming that Darfur has become secure and stable.
The Darfur displaced and human rights organisations have strongly condemned the reduction. According to the Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG) the UN and AU decision was based on “a flawed analysis of the current security and political situation in Darfur”.
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