SUDAN WATCH: Egyptian heavy transport company arrives in Nyala, South Darfur, Western Sudan to boost strength of joint United Nations-African Union force (UNAMID)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Egyptian heavy transport company arrives in Nyala, South Darfur, Western Sudan to boost strength of joint United Nations-African Union force (UNAMID)

Egyptian heavy transport company arrives in Nyala, South Darfur to boost strength of joint UN-African Union force

Photo: Egyptian heavy transport company arrives in Nyala, South Darfur Thursday, 13 November 2008 (UN)

November 14, 2008 Press Release from UN.org - Darfur: Egyptian troops arrive to boost strength of joint UN-African Union force:
November 13, 2008 – More than 160 Egyptian personnel arrived in Darfur today as part of a large battalion that will boost the strength of the joint United Nations-African Union force deployed earlier this year in an attempt to quell the fighting and humanitarian suffering in the strife-torn Sudanese region.

More personnel from the Egyptian infantry battalion are expected to arrive on Friday and Saturday in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state and the headquarters of the force known as (UNAMID).

Deputy Force Commander Major General Emmanuel Karake Karenzi welcomed the new arrivals, who will be deployed in Umm Kadada in North Darfur, where they will join the 177 members of the advance party that is already on the ground.

“I want you to look at yourselves as part of one family,” he told the Egyptian personnel. “You are therefore more than soldiers of peace; you are also ambassadors of the African Union and ambassadors of the United Nations.”

Another 184 members of the Egyptian infantry battalion are expected to arrive at the end of the year. Egypt’s contribution to UNAMID includes a signal company, engineering company, heavy transport company and another infantry battalion that is expected to arrive in the near future.

UNAMID should have about 26,000 uniformed personnel, including just below 20,000 troops, when it reaches full deployment. It currently has only around 10,000 personnel, and senior UN officials have repeatedly called on countries to supply the remaining troops and equipment that are needed.

An estimated 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million others displaced from their homes in Darfur since rebels began fighting Government forces and allied militiamen, known as the Janjaweed, in 2003.

Yesterday UNAMID joined Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in welcoming the Sudanese Government’s declaration of an immediate ceasefire between its forces and the rebel movements in Darfur and also Khartoum’s stated plan to disarm allied militias operating in the region.

“This ceasefire could signal the start of a new phase in the search for a just and lasting peace in Darfur,” UNAMID said in a statement.
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November 13, 2008 report (via ReliefWeb) by the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) - UNAMID welcomes the arrival of the main body of the Egyptian infantry battalion:
EL FASHER, Darfur, Sudan, November 13, 2008 - A new batch of the Egyptian Infantry Battalion consisting of 164 personnel arrived in El Fasher today. More personnel of the same battalion comprising of 326 are expected to arrive on 14 and 15 November 2008. The new batch will be deployed in Umm Kadada, North Darfur, where they will join the 177 advanced party that is already on the ground. The rest of the battalion, consisting of 184 personnel is expected to arrive at the end of this year.

UNAMID Deputy Force Commander, Major General Emmanuel Karake Karenzi, welcomed the Egyptian new arrivals and urged them to assimilate with their colleagues in the UNAMID Force. "You are now part of the larger force and must be prepared to work with your colleagues from different countries; I want you to look at yourself as part of one family, you are therefore more than soldiers of peace; you are also Ambassadors of the African Union and Ambassadors of the United Nations."

Egypt's contribution to UNAMID includes a Signal Company, Engineering Company, a Heavy transport Company and another Infantry Battalion that is expected to arrive in the soon future.

In addition to the 10 Battalions currently on the ground from Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa, UNAMID is expecting an additional 8 Infantry Battalions; Egypt (2), Ethiopia (2), Thailand (1), Senegal (1), Burkina Faso (1), Tanzania (1).
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November 14, 2008 UPI report (via Middle East Times) - Egyptian troops deploy to Darfur:
KHARTOUM, Sudan, November 14, 2008 (UPI) -- In a follow-up on promises to commit troops to support security operations in Sudan, more than 160 Egyptian personnel deployed to Darfur Thursday and Friday.

The Egyptian troops arrived in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, to support the U.N.-African Union operations on Thursday and Friday. UNAMID is working to end the ongoing flareups of violence in Darfur between rebel forces and the Sudanese government troops, the United Nations reported.

Officials are working to increase the strength of UNAMID to approximately 26,000 troops. There are currently only around 10,000 personnel to support UNAMID operations in Darfur. Egyptian officials say an additional 184 infantry battalion from Egypt are expected deploy to Darfur before January.

UNAMID Deputy Force Cmdr. Maj. General Emmanuel Karake Karenzi welcomed the Egyptian unit. Karenzi said the Egyptian's will be deployed to support operations in Umm Kadada in North Darfur.

"I want you to look at yourselves as part of one family," Karenzi said in a statement. "You are therefore more than soldiers of peace; you are also ambassadors of the African Union and ambassadors of the United Nations."
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November 13, 2008 report from Sudan Tribune - After delays, Egyptian battalion to arrive in Darfur:
November 12, 2008 (EL FASHER) – The Egyptian infantry battalion for peacekeeping in Darfur will deploy Thursday to Saturday, joining the African Union – United Nations hybrid operation (UNAMID), a spokesman said Nov. 7.

An Egyptian heavy transport company arrived in Nyala, South Darfur on Wednesday, consisting of 155 soldiers and officers. An additional seven personnel were already on the ground as part of an advance party.

"The Egyptian company will primarily support the distribution of cargo between sector logistics bases, the movement of bulk cargo, including water and fuel tankers, and provide transport and engineering capabilities," stated UNAMID.

In preparation for the arrival of the main body of the infantry battalion, consisting of 490 personnel, another advance party of now 177 personnel has been doing logistics work for the incoming troops since February.

Egypt has also deployed a signal company, and on August 14 it deployed an engineering company of 335 military personnel.

UNAMID reported that the security situation in Darfur was relatively calm during the first week of November, despite the increase in carjackings, particularly in southern Darfur.

"Banditry activities, rape cases, are still prevalent in the region," stated the mission.

Mission Force Commander Martin Agwai expected 1,200 troops from Egypt in May, but there have been delays.

Beyond the normal logistical challenges of moving military equipment to a region as remote as Darfur, major delays are attributable to security incidents along the vast government-held stretch of roads from Port Sudan to Darfur.

Sudanese contractors often refuse to undertake the journey. Consequently, the Egyptian advance party was tasked with driving their own equipment from El Obeid to Um Kadada.

The 72 drivers and 4 officers from the first Egyptian battalion arrived in Um Kadada on September 15, but subsequently flew to El Obeid and moved their equipment by road on September 22, according to the UN secretary-general’s latest report to the Security Council.

During August and September rains, UNAMID was able to move three armed convoys involving 165 vehicles from El Obeid to El Fasher. One 40-vehicle convoy encountered more than 100 World Food Programme (WFP) trucks at the Kordofan-Darfur border, where the WFP convoy had stood idle for three weeks, reportedly owing to lack of escorts, the secretary-general reports.

Another cause of delay is that the equipment has to pass through approval by customs, national intelligence and national security officials at Port Sudan.

The equipment of the Egyptian transport company arrived in Port Sudan on January 31, but only 15% of it had arrived in Nyala in Darfur by the end of May, according to the secretary-general’s June 17 report on deployment.

Moreover, construction work on the Um Kadada base, where the Egyptians were to deploy, was not begun when it was meant to in early June, due to an inability to offload heavy engineering machinery.

Hocine Medili, a UNAMID logistics official, traveled to Um Kadada in North Darfur on October 13 to inspect the readiness of the Egyptians’ team base. Medili was accompanied by the Egyptian officer in charge of deployment, the UNAMID military planning officer and the mission’s chief engineer.

At that time, the Egyptian battalion was expected to join the mission at the end of October.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769 (2007) authorized UNAMID to have a strength of up to 19,555 military personnel, including 360 military observers and liaison officers. Today’s deployment brings the total number of UNAMID troops in Darfur to 9,122.

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