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UN troops begin arriving in Sudan to enforce peace agreement

4/21/2005 8:01am

KHARTOUM, April 21 (AFP) - More than 40 UN troops arrived in Sudan as the vanguard of a 10,000-strong UN peacekeeping force that is to support a January peace agreement which ended 21 years of civil war in the south of the country, a UN spokesperson said.

Radhia Achouri, spokesperson for UN special representative for Sudan Jan Pronk, told reporters the 44 staff officers from the multinational force arrived Wednesday.

The UN Security Council on March 24 approved the deployment of 10,000 UN peacekeepers to shore up the January 9 peace agreement which put an end to the 21-year-old north-south civil war in Sudan, Africa's largest country.

The war pitted the mainly Christian and animist south against the Muslim-dominated central government based in the north and has left an estimated 1.5 million people dead and four million displaced.

Achouri said General Fazle Elahi Akbar, the Bangladeshi UN force commander will visit the main southern cities of Malakal, Wau and Juba Thursday and Friday to "assess the ground preparations for UN troops' deployment," Achouri said.

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