AU ASSESSMENT TEAM CONCLUDES ITS TOUR TO DARFUR
The African Union Assessment Mission of AMIS concluded its visit to Sudan with a working tour of Darfur today. The Mission which left Khartoum for Darfur on the 11th March 2005 was led by the Commissioner of AU Peace and Security Council, Ambassador Said Djinnit. Other high ranking officials included the Head of African Union Mission in Sudan, AMIS, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, the Force Commander of AMIS, Major General Festus Okonkwo, as well as representatives of the AU partners, notably Mr. Christopher Coleman of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Col. Simon Bates and Ms. Fransesca Pavarini of the European Union, and Miss Taya Smith, the representative of the US State Department.
The Delegation visited all the 8 Military Sectors of AMIS in Darfur, with headquarters at El Fasher, Nyala, El Geneina, Kabkabiya, Tine, Zalingei, El Daien and Kutum. The Military Observer Group Sites and Team Sites at Greida, Labado, Muhajiriya, Marla and Melit were also visited. In all these Sectors, The delegation received thorough briefing on the security, military, humanitarian and logistics situation on the ground. Constraints, challenges and opportunities facing the AU troops were reviewed for comprehensive recommendations to enhance the performance of AMIS.
During its tour the delegation also met with the representatives and field commanders of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Government’s headquarters, Western Area Command. The meetings focused on strengthening further cooperation between the AU and the Sudanese Parties and how to pave way for an early resumption of Abuja Peace Talks.
The Team noted with satisfaction that the presence of African Union Troops encouraged Local Communities in different parts of Darfur especially in Tine and the Labado area to return to their homes. The recent arrival of AU Civilian Police in a number of Camps hosting Internally Displaced Persons has also encouraged the local population to resume their normal lives without fear of harassment.
AMIS troops whose current strength now stands at 2193 are found to be doing their utmost within limited resources to carry out military assignments to monitor compliance with the N’djamena Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement of 8 April 2004. This is being done through regular patrols, confidence building patrols and other proactive measures. The Protection Force of AMIS also provides escorts for humanitarian organization and UN Agencies some of whose representatives met with the AU delegation.
It is to be recalled that the assessment mission is within the framework of a decision taken by the 17th Session of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the AU held on 20 October 2004 which, among other things, requested the Commission to report regularly on the situation in Darfur and on the operations and activities of AMIS.
17 March 2005, Khartoum