SUDAN WATCH: U.S. Air Force flys African Union troops to Darfur, Sudan

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

U.S. Air Force flys African Union troops to Darfur, Sudan

On July 14, 2005 the United States Air Force commenced airlifting African Union troops into Darfur. The operation is expected to take 30 days.

Today, Nigeria sent some 700 soldiers to Darfur:
"The troops from the 174 Battalion in Ikorodu, Lagos, will depart Nigeria for Sudan today," Brigadier-general Ganiyu Adewale told AFP.

He said the troops were the second battalion to be deployed by Nigeria to to replace three companies of Nigerian soldiers in Darfur.

"As you are aware, the first battalion left early last month. The third will leave in about two months' time," he said.

"The troops' deployment is part of Nigeria's contributions to the AU mission in Sudan," he added.
In April, the AU agreed to increase the size of its Darfur mission from the 3,320 to be deployed by the end of May to 7,731 by the end of September.

US airlifts AU troops to Darfur

Archive photo of Nigerian troops preparing to board a U.S. military plane in the Nigerian capital Abuja, October 28, 2004.
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U.S. plane flys African Union force to Darfur

August 8, 2005 report by AFP Stuttgart, Germany confirms an American civil aviation aircraft flew 49 civilian police officers from Rwanda to Darfur in response to a request from the African Union (AU) to NATO, said a US military press statement. Excerpt from AFP:
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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U.S. Air Force helps Rwandan troops deploy to Darfur

The following report is by Capt. Morgan J. O'Brien III, 86th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs, dated July 19, 2005:

A C-17 Globemaster III departed Kigali International Airport, Rwanda on July 18, 2005 carrying 95 Rwandan troops deploying to help ease the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. The airlift started the 86th Aerospace Expeditionary Group's involvement in NATO's support to the African Union expanded mission in the region. The airlift is expected to last 30 days.

"The people of Darfur need help," said Col. Scott Schafer, the group commander. "This first airlift means that Rwandan troops are on the way."

US airlifts AU troops to Darfur

Photo: Kigali International Airport, Rwanda -- Rwandan forces stand by to board a C-130 Hercules from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, here July 19. The Ramstein Airmen were here to provide transportation for 1,200 Rwandan forces to Sudan in support of NATO's response for the African Union's expanded peacekeeping mission in Darfur with logistics and training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Bradley C. Church)

The troops were sent off with the music of a Rwandan military band, and marched to the C-17 through a Rwandan military honor guard hailing them with fixed bayonets. The aircraft was from McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., and was flown by a crew from McChord AFB, Wash.

"All of our efforts in support of (the mission in the Darfur region of Sudan) underscore our commitment to an important team effort," said Capt. Joel Harper, the group's public affairs chief. "We are working with the international community, specifically the African Union and NATO, to help achieve peace in a unified Sudan."

US airlifts AU troops to Darfur

Photo: Kigali International Airport, Rwanda -- Tech. Sgt. Phillip Derenski talks with Rwandan Lt. Kadhafi Ntayomba on a C-17 Globemaster III from McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., after arriving at the airport July 17. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Bradley C. Church)

During the operation, about 150 Airmen from Ramstein Air Base, Germany; Royal Mildenhall, England; and strategic support from U.S. Transportation Command will move about 1,200 Rwandan troops from Kigali to Al-Fashir, Sudan.

"We're not alone in this mission," Colonel Schafer said. "We're working with our allies in NATO and the AU to ensure Darfur gets help."

US airlifts AU troops

Photo: Kigali International Airport, Rwanda -- Rwandan forces prepare to board a C-17 Globemaster III from McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., on July 17. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Bradley C. Church)

The U.S. airlift is part of the larger multinational effort to improve security and create conditions in which humanitarian assistance can be more effectively provided to the people of Darfur. NATO Secretary Gen. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer announced June 9 that the alliance would help the AU expand its peacekeeping force in Darfur from 3,300 to about 7,700 in the coming months.

U.S. European Command began deploying Airmen and equipment here July 14.

About 120 U.S. Air Forces in Europe Airmen and three C-130 Hercules aircraft from Ramstein deployed to Africa in October 2004 to conduct a similar mission. By mission's end, the C-130s had carried about 350 AU troops and 118,000 pounds of cargo. (Courtesy of USAFE News Service)
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Egyptian troops to leave for peacekeeping mission in Darfur

Aug 10 report from Khartoum by Sudan Tribune claims
"A 60-soldier military force is to arrive in Khartoum on Friday 11 August ahead of leaving to Darfur, said Egypt's Ambassador to Sudan Mohamed Abdelmunim al-Shadhili."
The report says Egypt is taking part in the African Union's force in Darfur to observe ceasefire between the Sudan's government and rebel groups.
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Rains, insecurity hampering aid delivery to Darfur

The long forecasted rainy season has started in Darfur. A report at IRIN Aug 10 says heavy rainfall and ongoing insecurity are slowing down the delivery of aid to parts of Darfur.

Long forecasted rainy season in Darfur

Photo: A commercial truck stuck with food in a wadi east of Kabkabiya town North Darfur. (IRIN)

WFP emergency coordinator for Darfur, Carlos Veloso, confirmed that the amount of rain that had fallen in Darfur was above the region's average.

"In terms of the quantity of rain, this is very good news for the expected harvest next year, but right now it does delay the turnaround of our trucks to El Fasher and Nyala [the capitals of North and South Darfur respectively] by a couple of days," Veloso said on Wednesday.

"The rains [in North Darfur] started at the beginning of July, and it rained for 13 days in a row," Mawut Deng, a WFP field monitor in Kabkabiya, added.

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