A contingent of police officers from Senegal arrived in Darfur today, adding to the strength of the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force tasked with protecting civilians and ensuring access for humanitarian workers in the strife-torn Sudanese region.
The 137 members of the Senegalese formed police unit (FPU) will be joining three officers who arrived as an advance party on 27 June. The unit will be deployed in El Geneina, West Darfur, alongside two Nigerian FPUs already based in the area, according to the mission, known as UNAMID.
FPUs are comprised of police officers who have received specialized training in high-risk operations, and their main task is the protection of civilians, including through conducting community policing, especially in camps housing internally displaced persons (IDPs).
UNAMID now has a total of 11 FPUs from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria, Jordan and Senegal. It is also expecting an Egyptian FPU to be deployed soon and to have some 15 units deployed on the ground by the end of December.
Established by the Security Council in 2007, the mission is expected to have a total of 26,000 military and police personnel at full deployment, including 19 FPUs.
It took over operations in Darfur – where an estimated 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million others displaced as a result of conflict pitting rebels against Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen since 2003 – at the beginning of last year, replacing the under-resourced AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS).