Sudanese Defence Minister meets Chadian President Deby - Security Council consults on cutting MINURCAT - Irish troops return home
On Saturday (8 May) the Security Council held closed consultations on cuts to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Chad (MINURCAT) after the Chadian government's call for the withdrawal of the military component, despite warnings that this could impair delivery of humanitarian aid to some 430,000 people.
On Monday (10 May) the first group of Irish troops is due to arrive home from Chad. Irish Minister for Defence Tony Killeen extended his congratulations to the returning contingent and to all those involved in the MINURCAT mission. The Defence Forces have been involved in Chad since February 2008.
Further details below.
SAF deploys border troops along Chad amid allegations of attack on JEM strongholds
From Radio Miraya - Sunday, 09 May 2010 20:37:
As the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) tightened border security with Chad in an effort to promote peaceful border co-existence, allegations of SAF attacks on JEM forces continue to surface. Director of the SAF's office, Lieutenant Sawarmi Khalid Saed told Radio Miraya that the deployment is part of the security agreement reached between Khartoum and N'djamena, in an attempt to flush out opposition activities in both countries.Minister of Defense meets Chadian President
He pointed out that the military monitors any covert rebel activities whether inside or outside cities, citing two joint military base camps in Adri and Aljineena townships where the military monitors any covert rebel activities. Sawarmi added that ground arrangements are also progressing well.
On Saturday, Sudan's Federal Minister of Defense, Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein, met with the Chadian President Idris Debby, in N'Djamena on Saturday. The two discussed the deployment process of the joint monitoring forces.
Leitenant Sawarmi also denied any clashes with the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). JEM has accused the SAF of attacking their territories.
Speaking to Radio Miraya, Sawarmi admitted that some JEM forces have penetrated some areas of Kordofan, but downplayed their effect on the civilians.
He said citizens are used to seeing JEM troops passing through townships and have not been exposed to any clashes with the SAF. Sawarmi added that JEM merely intimidates and terrify villagers by shooting randomly.
Earlier JEM confirmed that fighting is on-going between JEM forces and the SAF in Kordofan, North and South Darfur. In a statement to Radio Miraya, JEM's speaker at the Legislative Assembly, Althahir AlFaki, accused the SAF of using Antinov war planes to attack areas Kilbas, Feferida, Fireaa, Hileylat and JEM's strongholds in northern Kordofan State, saying that he had just received the information of field commanders there.
AlFaki disclosed that JEM has administrative patrols, active in Dar-Amiss area in Kordofan State.
He also added that the framework agreement signed did not specify the locations where JEM deploys troops.
Click and listen to SAF's Lieutenant Sawarmi Khalid Saed
Click and listen to JEM's Legislative Assembly speaker, Althahir Al Faki
From Miraya Radio - Sunday, 09 May 2010 14:44:
The Federal Minister of Defense, Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein, met with the Chadian President Idriss Déby, in N'Djamena yesterday. They discussed the deployment process of the joint monitoring forces at the borders. Hussein also delivered to Déby an invitation from President-elect Omar Al Bashir to attend his swearing-in ceremony in Sudan follwing his election last month.Security Council consults on cutting UN military force in Chad
From (UN News) Spero News - Saturday, 08 May 2010:
The Security Council today held closed consultations on cuts to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Chad after the Government"s call for the withdrawal of the military component, despite warnings that this could impair delivery of humanitarian aid to some 430,000 people.First Irish troops to return from Chad on Monday
"We are extremely worried about what the potential impact will be on the civilians whom we"re trying to help in eastern Chad," Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes told a news conference, citing 250,000 or more refugees from Sudan"s war-torn Darfur region and 180,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs).
The UN mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad (MINURCAT) "has been helpful for us" in providing security and extra logistical capacity including medical evacuations, he said.
"That"s why we"ve made clear ourselves, publicly and privately, to the Government of Chad and the Security Council that our preference would be that MINURCAT should stay for a further period until alternative arrangements are made because the consequences for the protection of civilians but also for humanitarians themselves could be very significant," he added.
Last month UN and Chadian officials agreed on a major initial reduction after the Government called for the withdrawal of the military component of MINURCAT, which was set up over two years ago to ensure the security of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Darfur, IDPs and humanitarian workers in both Chad and the CAR, saying the force had served its purpose.
In a report to the Council earlier this week Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon proposed that the military component be reduced from its current 3,300 troops " out of an authorized strength of 4,900 " to 1,400 troops and 500 support elements. The current mandate expires on 15 May.
With new agreements on border security between Chad and Sudan, and with MINURCAT not strong enough to provide complete security in eastern Chad, the Government said it felt it was better for Chadian forces to take over and for the mandate to be adjusted.
"Now we will have to deal with the situation as we find it if MINURCAT has to draw down in the course of this year, which looks like the most likely outcome of all this, we will have to adapt to that and do the best we can," Mr. Holmes said. "But it may have an impact on our ability to help people and on the security problems for the people themselves."
In his report Mr. Ban said MINURCAT would ensure the first drawdown of 1,400 troops by 15 July, with the remaining 1,900 beginning their withdrawal on 15 October. He also proposed that as of 16 May, the current mandate for the protection of civilians would cease, with such security tasks to be carried out by Chadian police forces, primarily the UN-trained D"chement int""e s"rit"DIS).
Meanwhile, the MINURCAT police component would continue to train, mentor and support the efforts of the Government to enable the DIS to become self-sustainable.
Source: UN News
From BreakingNews.ie - Sunday, 09 May 2010:
The first group of Irish troops is due to arrive home from Chad on Monday, according to the Defence Forces.
The group, consisting of 212 personnel, will arrive into Dublin Airport at 3.35pm.
Minister for Defence Tony Killeen extended his congratulations to the returning contingent and to all those involved in the MINURCAT mission.
"This was probably the most difficult mission ever undertaken by the Defence Forces and the manner in which it was deployed and operated is testament to effectiveness of the modernisation process implemented by the Defence Forces over the past number of years," he said.
"I would like to thank all members of the Defence Forces who have served in Chad for their dedication, professionalism and hard work in contributing to a safe and secure environment for refugees and displaced persons.
"The Government remains deeply committed to international peacekeeping and, over the coming months, we will be looking at possible options for future deployments."
The Defence Forces have been involved in Chad since February 2008.