Darfur: UN-African force begins rotations

The joint United Nations-African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission in Sudan’s war-ravaged Darfur region today reported that the security situation remains calm as scheduled troop rotations begin among some units.
The UN News Centre says the hybrid operation, which is known as UNAMID and is tasked with quelling violence and protecting civilians, had reported over the past month a rise in attacks on peacekeeping staff, armed banditry, the burning of shelters in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and harassment of civilians.
There has also been concern over the safety of humanitarian workers, many of whom have been ordered to leave the region following the indictment on 4 March of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the region.
The rotation of its troops in Darfur began Tuesday with the Nigerian Battalion stationed in South Darfur, with a total of 200 personnel arriving while another 200 left the Mission for their home country. South African troops will also be rotated in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, in the past 24 hours, UNAMID military and police forces conducted nearly 150 patrols covering in and around villages and camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), the Mission said.
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 the region.