In a press statement, the U.N. said its envoy to Sudan, Jan Pronk, and U.N. force commander Maj. Gen. Fazle Elaki Akbar attended a hand-over ceremony in Tillo.
The 1983-2005 civil war was calamitous for the people of the Nuba Mountains in south-central Sudan. Squeezed between the pro-government northerners and the pro-rebel southerners, more than half of the local population fled. But during the past three years of cease-fire, life has returned almost to normal and the population doubled from 720,000 people to more than 1.4 million.
Under the Jan. 9 peace agreement, the U.N. is taking over from the Joint Military Commission this month by deploying peace monitors in southern Sudan, the Nuba Mountains and the areas known as Blue Nile and Abyei.
The rebels have to withdraw 30% of their troops from northern Sudan within four months, and complete the withdrawal in eight months.