Sudan: Western Troops To be Allowed Into Darfur

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November18, 2006: Sudanese air force bombers, and government supported Arab militias, attacked refugee camps along the border, causing dozens of casualties and sending thousands of people fleeing.

November 18, 2006: The German NGO Welthungerhilfe said that it was withdrawing its personnel from Sudan's Darfur region. The NGO operates near the Sudan-Chad border and helps run the Birmaza refugee camp. Increased fighting in the border region is putting NGO personnel at risk. Other NGOs and UN observers have reported that the fighting along the Sudan-Chad border has increased dramatically in the last week to ten days. The fighting has produced a new wave of "thousands" of refugees.

November 17, 2006: Sudan said that the UN could only provide "technical support" for the African Union (AU) peacekeeping force in Darfur. However, a spokesman for Sudan's president said that the UN could provide troops though the mix of force levels had not been decided. The presidential adviser, however, insisted that the AU had to be in charge. Beyond continued AU command of the force, it appears the Sudanese government has been caught off guard by the UN plan to aid the AU force in Darfur. A "mix" of forces that includes three or four first-rate combat battalions (European, Indian, Pakistani, or South African) would put capable peacekeepers in Darfur. If supported by adequate intelligence, attack and transport helicopters, light armor, and strike aircraft, the battalions would present a huge problem for Janjaweed-type militia fighters. But it would also result in Western (Christian) troops killing Moslem militiamen. This is considered oppression by much of the Islamic media.

November 16, 2006: At talks held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the United Nations agreed to a "joint peacekeeping force" with the AU. The current AU force (approximately 7000 troops) could expand to 17,000 and later to 27,000.

 

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