UN Security Council pauses Darfur troops drawdown for 4 months


June 28, 2019


WASHINGTON – The United Nations Security Council Thursday has paused the withdrawal of Darfur hybrid peacekeeping force, UNAMID, for four months as a result of political and security uncertainties in prevailing Sudan.

The political impasse in Khartoum over the formation of the transitional authority and killing of civilians by Sudanese militiamen of the Rapid Support Forces has raised fears over further security deterioration and chaos in the country.

Also, several attacks in Darfur on civilians and looting of humanitarian assistance recently occurred in the region reviving fears for more attacks as a result of the political situation in Sudan.

In a resolution adopted unanimously on Thursday, the Security Council decided to “extend until 31 October 2019 the mandate of the African Union-United Nations Mission Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID)”.

In addition, the Council has decided that “UNAMID should continue to implement its mandate as set out in resolution 2429 (2018), and further decides to extend, temporarily and exceptionally, the period of drawdown for UNAMID’s military personnel outlined in paragraph 5 of resolution 2429 (2018), in order to maintain the Mission’s self-protection capacities”.

The resolution 2429 (2018), passed on Friday 13 July, provides to cut UNAMID troop strength from 8,735 to 4,050 personnel and to maintain its police strength at 2,500 personnel.

Further, the resolution provides that the mission, during the 12 month period from 2018 to June 2019, had to shut down14 sites and to focus its efforts on 13 sites in the Greater Jebel Marra area. Also, its headquarters have to be transferred to Golo in Central Darfur.

Also, by the end of June, the hybrid operation will conclude phase two of its reconfiguration which authorized a further reduction of troops from 11,395 to 8,735 military personnel and reduced police ceilings from 2,888 to 2,500 police personnel.

The 15-member body requests the secretary-general to provide the Council with an oral update 60 days on the situation on the ground.

Also, the resolution requested the UN chief and the chairperson of the African Union Commission to submit a report assessing the situation and recommendations on the appropriate course of action regarding the drawdown of UNAMID, before 30 September 2019.

The report should also include a joint UN-AU political strategy detailing options for a follow-on mechanism to UNAMID.

The South African ambassador speaking on behalf of the African countries in the Council said they would have preferred a six-month technical rollover instead of the four months to ensure adequate time for the African Union and the United Nations to comprehensively assess and evaluate the situation. – Sudan Tribune

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