UN and Sudan in bitter dispute over peacekeepers

Friday June 12 2015

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. FILE PHOTO | AFP

The United Nations and the Sudan are locked in a bitter dispute over the extension of the mandate of the peacekeepers in the restive Darfur region.

Khartoum has reacted strongly to a recent UN report on Darfur, which it described as biased.

Foreign minister Ibrahim Gandour told reporters in Khartoum on Thursday that his government would not allow any extension for the UN Mission in Darfur (Unamid) without the resolution of the outstanding issues.

He described the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's report about the escalation of war in the region as fabricated and false information.

"They want to fabricate these reports to manoeuvre from what we agreed on the exit strategy of the Unamid,’’ the minister said.

Khartoum on Thursday summoned the Unamid Special Representatives to Sudan, Mr Abdul Camara, to protest against Mr Ban's report.


The UN chief has asked the Security Council to extend the mandate of the Darfur peacekeeping mission for a year, despite Khartoum's repeated calls for its exit.

Tribal fighting

Mr Ban claimed that the security and humanitarian situation in the region was not satisfactory, hence the need for the continued stay of the UN forces.

‘’Given the lack of progress on the benchmark and the significant deterioration of the situation, the three strategic priorities of the Unamid's defined in 2014, remains valid,’’ the UN Secretary-General stressed.

Mr Ban further told the Security Council that the overall security situation had deteriorated, reporting that the conflict between the government and the rebels, tribal fighting, violence against women including rape, attacks against the Unamid and humanitarian organisations had been on the rise in the past three months.

"Unamid also collected evidence of two air-delivered cluster bombs in North Darfur and disposed them safely," said the UN Secretary-General.

But in April, Khartoum denied accusations by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) of using the cluster bombs in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

So far, according to the Mr Ban, 278 people have been killed in the region in the three months covered by the report; during the same period 37 cases of rape were recorded.

And Unamid had been subjected to around 60 attacks, which included abductions, robbery and hijacking of their vehicles, while humanitarian organisations had come under 40 attacks.

He further revealed that the talks between the government and the UN and AU representatives had been suspended.

Found evidence

Mr Ban further said the Sudanese rebels were using the territory of neighbouring South Sudan in their war against the Khartoum government.

The report says a convoy of Sudanese rebels, which entered Darfur last April, had come from South Sudan. 

The report adds that the convoy, comprising 300 vehicles belonging to the Justice and Equality Movement and (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement Minawi faction (SLM/MM), had been ambushed in South Darfur by the government's Rapid Security Forces (RSF).

Neither the South Sudan government nor the Sudanese rebels have reacted to the report.

International monitoring groups have in turn accused Sudan of supporting the Southern Sudanese rebels headed by Dr Riek Machar.

The London-based Conflict Armament Research (CAR) group reported last week that their investigators had found evidence of the Sudanese supply operation during a field visit to a South Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) base in Malakal in Upper Nile State last December.

Khartoum and Juba have repeatedly exchanged accusations of support for the other's rebels.