Title: The green berets-an international force in firing line by Abdul-Aziz Ali Omer
Author: Abdul-Aziz Ali Omer
Date: 05-31-2014, 06:19 PM
Abdul-Aziz Ali Omer
58 is the number of casualties of United Nation/African Union Hybrid Operation (UNAMID) since taking over its mission in Darfur. Some observers view UNAMID as militarily incompetent to carry out the U.N Security Council mandate which has been entrusted to it. The Security Council passed resolution 1769 on July 31, 2007 under chapter V11 for the creation of United Nation/African Union Hybrid Operation (UNAMID). UNAMID has been resumed with a force of 26,000 troops including 19,000 uniformed personnel, 360 military observers, liaison officers, 6,000 and 432 police men. The initial 12 month of UNAMID presence costed more than one billion Dollars. UNAMID is the largest peace-keeping mission in the world. It is equipped with armored cars, helicopters, fighting jets and was deployed at the beginning of 2008.
According to local source, last Saturday, a Rwandan African peace-keeping soldier of UNAMID was killed and others injured in Kabkabiya , North Darfur. Muhammad Ibn Chmabas, the joint representative of United Nation and African Union was deeply saddened by the outcome of incident. In a statement issued by UNAMID, he condemned the assault of a tribal group on peace keeping members. “Our peace keepers were trying to mediate a dispute” he said. He called on Khartoum to act swiftly in bringing the perpetrators to justice .He described the aggression as “a criminal act”. UNAMID statement gave an account of the incident as follows: “The peacekeepers attended a mediation meeting in a valiant attempt to ease the tension among two disputing tribes in Al-harra village. The Arab militia elements went berserk and began firing on UNAMID team. The peacekeepers returned the fire in self-defense. As result of fighting, 4 Rwandan peacekeepers were injured, one of them died from his wounds while one of the others is in a critical condition.
Ashraf Eisa, the UNAMID spokes man briefly pointed out that their military command is investigating the circumstances of event. Another U.N sources that preferred not be named suggested that a contingent of peacekeeping force tried to settle a dispute within the scope of Security Council given mandate but an armed group opened fire against U.N soldiers and the outbreak of violence resulted in the death of a Rwandan soldier and the injury of 3 of his colleagues in the process of fire-exchange.
Mohamed Ibn Chmabas, the Joint Special Representative of African Union and United Nation appealed to the international community not to let go of Darfur crisis. He requested the international community to continue supporting a peace ful resolution of the crisis in Darfur and funding the humanitarian actors to mitigate the effect of conflict in the region. Last week, Ibn Chambas visited Brussels where he met with European Union officials. In a lecture delivered at Friedrich EL-bert Foundation, he explained that Darfur appears to be on a new cycle of violence. Civilians have been a direct target of violence leading many to draw parallel between today’s conflict and the armed conflict in 2003. Mr. Chambas noted that 2003 conflict remained unresolved and traditional resolution mechanisms have been weakened. He mentioned that economic down-turn has pushed poverty and criminality up and that competition over land, water and mineral resources is getting stiffer and more violent. Ibn Chambas highlighted that the crisis in Darfur is deepening at a time when the attention of international community is shifting to other equally pressing conflict world-wide.
The U.N deployment plan replaced the African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (AMIS) by United Nation –African Union Hybrid Operation (UNAMID). The African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur comprised 8 battalions of 7,000 troops from Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa.
The Security Council adopted resolution 1709 which recommended the deployment of 22,000 and 5, 00 of combined force in Darfur. The first implemented phase of deploying a Hybrid force of United Nation and African Union troops was known as light support package. It was confined to provision of logistical and technical equipments that costed 22 million dollars, supporting Darfur-Darfur dialogue and achieving political rapprochement between Darfur rebels and Khartoum. The second stage involved sending more than 3,000 personnel including soldiers, police and other relevant elements, aerial back-up services and logistics. U.N deployed 6 attack Helicopters and Sudan has repeatedly objected to such point expressing a reservation about the quality of planes and demanding that pilots shouldn’t be from countries which Khartoum don’t approve.
The final stage known as heavy support package and in it U.N wanted to have more blue helmets in Sudan. Khartoum refused on the ground that is an infringement of its sovereignty. On June 12, 2007, after mediation and pressures accepted the entry of blue berets. The African Union peacekeeping mission has been described as lacking sufficient funds and preparedness. According to U.N’s figures, the civil war in Darfur claimed the lives of more than a hundred million people and led to the displacement of 1.2 million. Khartoum disputes such U.N estimates. The recent attack on UNAMID on May was n’t the first of its kind but raises many questions: to what extent is it necessary the stay of UNAMID in Darfur? Will UNAMID become a juicy target of so many conflicting parties in the regions? What is the value of a force that can’t fend for itself let alone protect civilians?