Sudan has enjoined the UN Security Council to remove suspension of troop withdrawal and ensure that all peacekeepers leave Darfur by June 2020.
Sudan has told the UN Security Council that the restrictions on the movement of troops in Darfur should be lifted. Sudan’s UN Ambassador Omer Mohamed Siddig asserted that it is time to make the move from peacekeeping to peacebuilding in Darfur. However, the African Union has avowed that security in the region “remains volatile”.
Smail Chergui, the AU commissioner for peace and security, informed the council that the region still faces “intermittent armed clashes” between the government and rebels. He averred that instances of abduction of government staff for ransom is still rampant. He further said that land-related violence will increase during the current farming season.
The Security Council had stopped the withdrawal of the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force from Darfur in June. It was decided unanimously that the political crisis in the country had to be tackled first. The mandate, also known as UNAMID, was valid until October 31. The Security Council then asked the AU and UN to make suggestions regarding the withdrawal of the force by September 30.
The conflict in Darfur has troubled the region since 2003 when ethnic Africans rebelled against the Sudanese government. The Sudanese government, which had an Arab majority, was accused of discrimination. The government allegedly retaliated by arming nomadic Arab tribes, a claim which the government has rebuffed.
However, the rebellion in the region has been reduced to Sudan Liberation Army faction headed by Abdul Wahid Elnur in Jebel Marra due to active military campaign by the government.
Meanwhile, UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix said that a meeting between the AU and UN in September has been proposed. He further stated that he and the AU commissioner plan to visit Sudan in October.