KHARTOUM – The Sudanese government has started deploying 3,300- strong forces in the Darfur region to protect civilians in response to the increase in tribal violence.
In line with the Juba Peace Agreement, the government and Darfur armed groups agreed to deploy 12,000 troops in the western Sudan region but failed to enforce it due to multiple reasons.
The Sovereign Council, on December 7, announced the formation of a new joint force to protect civilians in Darfur after a meeting of the Joint Higher Council for Security Arrangements chaired by Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
In statements to the Sudan Tribune on Saturday, Hadi Idris Sovereign Council Member and Sudanese evolutionary Front leader said the joint task force consists of 3,300 military personnel commanded by a Sudanese army general.
“The joint force includes 1,500 Rapid Support Forces and 1,500 of the five signatory groups, each will provide 300 fighters and 300 soldiers from the Sudanese Armed Forces,” said Idris.
The force will be deployed in the states of North, South and West Darfur where recent clashes took place during November.
The troops are gathered in cantonment sites outside El Fasher to receive training for ten days before being deployed in the three states.
Idris who is also the leader of the SLM-Transitional Council arrived Saturday in the capital of North Darfur State, El-Fasher, to inspect the cantonment site. He pledged that all the needed logistics will be provided in the coming days with the rest of the troops.
The operation will be seconded by 150 elements of the General Intelligence Service. They will be deployed to facilitate the activities of the task force, he added.
Idris stressed that the combatants of all the groups will be gathered in specific camps and their movements will be restricted.
The joint force would “deal without mercy, with the undisciplined elements.”
The measure seemingly was decided after reports about the participation of fighters from some groups in the clashes.
Over a hundred people were killed in the recent clashes in West and South Darfur states and thousands were forced to flee their home areas.
In a speech before the Security Council on Friday, the head of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) said the security situation in Darfur remains fragile.
“The persistent insecurity in Darfur underscores the need to prioritize the protection of civilians and swiftly implement the provisions of the Juba Peace Agreement,” said Volker Perthes.
He further called to form and deploy the Joint Security-keeping force and activate the National Plan for Perfection of Civilians, as agreed in the Juba peace agreement.