SUDAN WATCH: Darfur training going well, Canadian commander says

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Darfur training going well, Canadian commander says

Canadian troops are in Senegal, training African Union troops how to use equipment Ottawa is lending to a mission to calm the crisis in Darfur, reports Canada's CTV today:
"Defence Minister Bill Graham announced late last month that Canada would send a total of 105 armoured vehicles to Sudan.

The 100 Grizzly general purpose armoured vehicles and the five Husky armoured recovery vehicles were previously deployed in Bosnia.

The vehicles, as well as training and maintenance assistance, are being loaned to the 53-nation African Union Mission in Sudan for one year.
Darfur training in Senegal

CTV photo: Sgt Darcy Blanchard, a vehicle technician, from CFB Gagetown, N.B., instructs an African Union soldier about the safety guiding procedures for the Grizzly general purpose armoured vehicle. (image: MCPL Marc Lacourse, Canadian Forces)
Between now and Sept. 26, some 80 Canadians are training Africa Union personnel to turn around and train their fellow soldiers in the vehicles' use and upkeep.

At the vehicles' base in Dakar, Senegal, Major Gilles Legacy says, so far, the training has been proceeding as planned.

"We're keeping on time with our schedule," Maj. Legacy told CTV's Canada AM on Tuesday. "We've had a little bit of a challenge with the language, but other than that everything seems to be going as per plan."

But Legacy says, overall, their mission has been well-received.

"Morale among the troops is very, very high. They're quite happy about being here -- they really enjoy the Canadian soldiers' expertise."
Darfur training in Senegal

CTV photo: Sgt Mike Andrews, an armoured gunnery instructor, teaches African Union soldiers gunnery theory on the Grizzly general purpose armoured vehicle. (image: MCPL Marc Lacourse, Canadian Forces)
AU troops from Nigeria, Rwanda and Senegal are expected to be operating the vehicles in Sudan by mid-September. Begun a year ago, the AU mission in Darfur is expected to expand to a deployment of 7,700 troops by next month.

The UN-backed mission's goal is to enforce a series of peace pacts agreed to by the southern Sudan Liberation Army and the Sudanese government."
U.S. Congress delegation to visit Sudan Wednesday

A report at Sudan Tribune August 15 says a delegation of US Congress, headed by Chairman of African Sub-Committee, is due to arrive in Khartoum Wednesday August 17. According to SUNA, Sudan's News Agency:
"FM Ismail said that the visit provides a good opportunity to discuss with the delegation the hostile stances of the US Congress toward Sudan.

He said that the US Congress shall change its method in dealing with Sudan if it is really supporting the peace agreement and wishes to contribute to solution of Darfur problem as well as the prevalence of stability and peace in Sudan and the region."
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