The mandate of the joint UN/AU peacekeeping operation in Sudan’s Darfur has been extended until the end of June next year by the UN Security Council which added the number of troops deployed has been reduced with “an eye towards the mission’s eventual exit”.
The troop strength of the hybrid mission – UNAMID – will be cut by more than half from the current 8 735 to 4 050. The mission’s police strength will be maintained at the current level of 2 500.
South Africa was part of UNAMID, under Operation Cordite from July 2008 until April 2016. This was the first mission where the SA Police Service was involved with the deployment of Commissioner Mike Fryer as UNAMID police commissioner alongside various elements of the SA Army, mainly infantry, medics and engineers.
The Security Council decision was unanimous with a statement saying “although the security situation in Darfur has improved, the long-running conflict there remains a threat to international peace and stability”.
In its resolution, the Security Council took note of recommendations in the special UN/AU report with a view towards the mission’s exit in June 30, 2020, drawing down fully by December 2020 “provided there is no significant change in the security situation in Darfur”.
According to a UN statement: “Civil war broke out in 2003 leading to the deaths of tens of thousands of Darfuris and displacement of nearly two million. In fighting between Sudanese government troops, militias and other armed rebel groups, widespread atrocities including murder and rape of civilians were committed”.