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US plane flies African Union force to Darfur

8/9/2005 6:06am

STUTTGART, Germany, Aug 8 (AFP) — An American civil aviation aircraft flew 49 civilian police officers from Rwanda to the war-torn Sudanese region of Darfur in response to a request from the African Union (AU) to NATO, said a US military press statement.

The statement said the movement of civilian police by US contracted commercial aircraft began July 14 as part of the African Union’s expanded mission in Sudan.

"The AU wanted to move the civilian police into theater as quickly as possible, said Brigadier General Richard Mills, who is overseeing the operation from the United States European Command (EUCOM) in Stuttgart.

"Once we were notified, a plan went into action to rapidly transport them, space available, with the ongoing deployment of the second Rwandan military battalion." said Mills.

As part of a larger NATO effort, the US is airlifting three battalions of Rwandan troops and cargo to Darfur by mid-September.

The AU plans to increase its presence in the region to more than 7,700 personnel by September.

In July President Bush authorized an additional six million dollars (4.8 million euros) in emergency funding to transport AU troops to Darfur.

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