The joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission to Darfur (UNAMID) reported today that its police unit will conduct the first night patrols at a new community policing centre (CPC) constructed between two large camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) near El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur.
The move, which starts tonight, means that UNAMID blue helmets will patrol the area in a continuous 24-hour operation as part of its efforts to step up the protection of the tens of thousands of residents taking shelter at the Abu Shouk and El Salaam camps for IDPs on the western flank of the Sudan.
A delegation of IDPs from El Salaam camp has also thanked UNAMID Police for its help in securing the recent release of several IDPs from detention by Sudanese national intelligence officers.
Construction will start within the next two weeks on another interim CPC near Zamzam, a separate IDP camp close to El Fasher, according to UNAMID.
The hybrid force was set up by the Security Council to protect civilians in Darfur, where an estimated 300,000 people have been killed and another 2.7 million have been forced from their homes since fighting erupted in 2003, pitting rebels against Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen.
One year on from transferring the task of suppressing the violence to UNAMID from the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS), some 12,374 blue helmets are now in place across Darfur, just over 60 per cent of the 19,555 military personnel authorized by the Security Council.