AU lauds improved security in Darfur

Thursday May 18 2017

A child and her mother walk towards their settlement in north Darfur. AFP PHOTO | UNAMID | ALBERT GONZALEZ FARRAN

A child and her mother walk towards their settlement in north Darfur. FILE PHOTO | AFP | UNAMID 

By MOHAMMED AMIN

The African Union said Thursday that the security situation in Sudan's western region of Darfur has improved.

It, however, said that there were still small pockets of clashes between President Omar al-Bashir's government and the rebels.

Speaking at a press conference in Khartoum on Thursday, the AU's Peace and Security Council (PSC) chairman Mr Mull Katende, said that security and humanitarian situation in Darfur had witnessed a major improvement recently.

Mr Katende further commended the efforts of the Sudanese government to restore stability in the region.

The 15 members of the PSC ended their five-day visit to Sudan Thursday, where they had visited to Darfur.

Mr Katende also stated that the joint assessment mission of the United Nations, AU and the Sudanese government to evaluate the peacekeeping mission in the region had accomplished its work, which will be reported to the UN Security Council (UNSC) next month.

UNSC will use the report to determine whether to extend the mandate of the UN and AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), or to adopt the exit strategy.\

Khartoum was insisting on an end to the UNAMID mandate, claiming that the security situation in Darfur has been stabilised.

Mr Katende explained that there was still fighting between the government and the rebels in and around the Marra Mountains.

He added that the fighting had hindered the return of the IDPs to their homeland over security concerns.

President Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.

UN and AU have deployed their biggest peacekeeping mission of more than 20.000 forces in Darfur since 2008.

The civil war in Darfur started in 2003 between the government and the rebel movements operating in the region.