Sudan slams UN forces 'failure' as Darfur mandate extended

Sudan said it would monitor travel by U.N./African Union peacekeepers in Darfur a day after the U.N. Security Council extended the force's mandate.

Sudan slams UN forces 'failure' as Darfur mandate extended

World Bulletin / News Desk

Sudan said on Saturday it would monitor travel by U.N./African Union peacekeepers in Darfur -- a day after the U.N. Security Council extended the force's mandate.

Peace talks between Khartoum and the Darfur rebels are under way in Qatar but have been boycotted by the two main rebel groups.

The U.N. Security Council extended UNAMID's mandate on Friday for a further year.

The 15-nation council unanimously approved the extension in a resolution that also condemned a recent surge of violence in Darfur and called on Khartoum to stop hindering the work of the joint African Union/U.N. peacekeeping force, or UNAMID.

The force, which stands at about 21,700 troops and police, has been struggling for three years with the Darfur crisis.

Extending UNAMID's mandate until July 31, 2011, the Security Council called on it to give priority to protection of civilians and ensuring "safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access" to an estimated 2 million refugees.

UNAMID “fails”

Senior information ministry official Rabie Abdelati accused UNAMID on Saturday of failing to halt the violence in the camps and harbouring instigators of the fighting, and said the force must in future inform the government of all travel plans.

"UNAMID has not done its job at all -- there was shooting, burning, people died and all they did was watch," Abdelati told Reuters. He was in South Darfur this week when the fighting between refugee groups broke out.

UNAMID reported earlier this month that 221 people had died in tribal fighting and other violence in Darfur in June after nearly 600 deaths in May. UNAMID has lost 27 troops and police since it first deployed.

"The governor of South Darfur told UNAMID they should either do their job (in Kalma refugee camp) or get out and let the government take over," he said.

UNAMID staff will have their bags searched at the airport and they will have to inform the government before moving on roads even within South Darfur's capital Nyala, he said.

“Respect sovereignty”

"UNAMID should adhere to all the normal procedures of the country and respect its sovereignty," said Abdelati. "All movement should be in clear coordination with us and no activities should happen without the government's knowledge."

He also said the U.N. peacekeepers were sheltering people he accused of stirring up trouble in one camp. "The governor is demanding that these five criminals be handed over within ... 48 hours," he said.

UNAMID declined to comment, but it said last week that five local leaders had sought refuge in its police base in Kalma camp, home to 100,000 refugees. It was not clear if these are the men wanted by the government.

Five people were killed in Kalma camp in South Darfur and three in Zalingei camp in West Darfur this week in fighting between refugee groups, and dozens were injured.

Mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms in the desert region of western Sudan in 2003, accusing Khartoum of neglect. Mostly Arab militias backed by Khartoum carried out a campaign to crush them that created one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

U.N. officials say up to 300,000 Darfuris have died, Khartoum puts the death toll at up to 10,000, and about two million people have fled their homes for huge refugee camps.

Call for ceasefire

The council resolution called on all parties to the conflict in Darfur to immediately end the violence and commit themselves to a "sustained and permanent ceasefire."

After closed-door consultations on Friday, council members condemned the killings in the camps, council president Joy Ogwu of Nigeria said in a statement to reporters. "UNAMID is expected to shed light on the events," she said.

The resolution also urged all parties to let UNAMID do its work and called on Khartoum to carry out promises to the United Nations on flight and equipment clearances and remove all obstacles to the use of the force's aircraft.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 31 Temmuz 2010, 15:25