December 31, 2020 (KHARTOUM) – The peacekeeping hybrid force in Sudan’s Darfur region UNAMID announced the end of its mandate on Thursday amid protests by displaced people in Darfur camps and their supporters in several towns in Sudan.
The UN Security Council confirmed on 22 December the withdrawal of the hybrid force which will be replaced by a political mission, UNITAMS, tasked with supporting the implementation of the Juba peace agreement in Darfur and the Two-Areas. While the government will deploy 12,000 troops to protect civilians.
However, on 24 December, the General Coordination of the Displaced and Refugee Camps, a group seen as supportive to the holdout SLM-Abdel Wahid al-Nur, called on 175 IDPs camps to begin a sit-in on 26 December to protest the exit of UNAMID from the Darfur region.
“Thursday 31 December will mark the end of UNAMID’s mandated operations in Darfur. The last patrols, programmatic and other mandated tasks will take place on the same day,” said the mission in a statement.
“As of 1 January 2021, UNAMID’s troops and police personnel will focus on providing security for the Mission’s drawdown activities, personnel and assets. UNAMID will have a period of six months to undertake the drawdown,” further said the mission.
In June 2020, the 15-member council did not set a date for its final withdrawal but agreed to move toward ending UNAMID mandate.
Some western countries voiced concern over the continuation of inter-communal attacks and infighting between the SLM-AW factions, but the African Union and Russia pressed for its departure.
As the force prepares to move out of Darfur it has some 6,000 troops and 1,500 civilian personnel.
Jean Pierre Lacroix, UN peacekeeping chief hailed the UNAMID for the good job done in Darfur region during the past 13 years during which they protected civilians and secured humanitarian access to the needy.
“The mission averted large-scale violence in difficult terrains and operating environments,” he said in a tweet he posted on Thursday.
On Thursday, Darfurian in several towns across the country organised demonstrations to protests against the UNAMID withdrawal chanting slogans saying it means the resumption of attacks on civilians and the residents of IDPs camps.
In its farewell statement, the hybrid mission said its departure from Sudan does not mean the end of the international community’s support to Sudan.
“Indeed, UNITAMS and the United Nations Country Team will continue to support the Government of Sudan in addressing its multiple challenges related to security, political and economic challenges,” stressed the statement.