The joint African Union-United Nations mission in the strife-torn Darfur region of Sudan received an additional 45 troops today, bringing the number of military staff to 12,242 – just over 60 per cent of the total military component of the force. However, this is still far short of the 26,000 uniformed personnel, including police, expected at full deployment.
The peacekeeping force, known as UNAMID, was set up by the Security Council last year to protect civilians in Darfur, where an estimated 300,000 people have been killed and another 2.7 million have been displaced from their homes since rebels began fighting Government forces and allied militiamen, known as the Janjaweed, in 2003.
While the Council authorized a force of about 26,000 uniformed personnel, only some 10,000 have been deployed so far, and senior UN officials have repeatedly called on countries to supply the remaining troops and equipment needed.
In his latest report on UNAMID, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote that fighting on the western flank of Sudan “and displacement continue, humanitarian operations are at risk, clashes between the parties occur with regrettable regularity and the parties have not reached a negotiated peace agreement.”
In this environment, he added, the peacekeeping mission is hampered by a severely under-deployed force.
The 45 members of the Ethiopian Medium Transport Company that arrived in West Darfur will primarily support the distribution of cargo between sector logistics bases, the movement of bulk cargo, including water and fuel tankers, and provide transport capabilities. The remaining 80 personnel are expected to arrive later this week.
Ethiopia’s contribution to UNAMID includes an Ethiopian Engineering Unit, one Infantry Battalion and one Multi-Role Logistics Company.