A fire broke out last night at the headquarters of the hybrid United Nations-African Union (AU) peacekeeping operation in Darfur, known as UNAMID, causing millions of dollars worth of damage, the mission announced today.
UNAMID fire fighters, assisted by blue helmets from Rwanda and Egypt and the State Airport Fire Brigade, eventually brought the fire under control without suffering any injuries.
The blaze caused an estimated $4 million worth of damage to communications equipment and another $1 million to other items, including office furniture and a water treatment laboratory.
In addition, 11 container offices and two warehouses were completely destroyed in the fire, which may have been sparked by an electrical short circuit, according to an initial assessment to be confirmed after a more thorough investigation.
UNAMID said that it has not been affected by the incident and that normal mission operations have resumed with minimal delay.
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.
More than one year on from transferring the task of suppressing the violence to UNAMID from the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS), well over 12,000 of the 19,555 military personnel authorized by the Security Council are now in place across Darfur.