The UNAMID peacekeeping mission was deployed to Darfur in 2007 to end a bitter conflict that erupted in 2003.
A joint United Nations and African Union peacekeeping mission in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region will end on Thursday after more than 13 years of operation.
UNAMID said in a statement on Wednesday that the Sudanese government will take responsibility for providing security and services to citizens of the region.
“As of January 1, 2021, UNAMID troops and police personnel will focus on the security of withdrawal activities, mission personnel and assets,” the mission said.
“UNAMID will have six months to undertake the withdrawal, which will take place in stages,” he said.
Last week, the 15-member Security Council unanimously passed a resolution to end the mission, outlining a phased six-month troop withdrawal with a full withdrawal by June 30.
The mission was deployed to Darfur in 2007 to end a bitter conflict that erupted in the western region in 2003 between government forces and rebel groups.
According to the UN peacekeeping mission website, there are currently some 4,000 troops, 480 police advisers, 1,631 police officers, 483 international civilian staff and 945 national civilian staff in the field.
The conflict spread to Sudan’s West Darfur region from 2003, after rebels, mostly non-Arabs, rose up against Khartoum. Government forces and mainly Arab militias who tried to quell the revolt have been accused of widespread atrocities. About 300,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced.
Former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was ousted by the military in April 2019 after months of protests against poor economic conditions and the authoritarian regime of al-Bashir for 30 years.
A transitional government was formed under a three-year power-sharing agreement between military and civilian groups that is supposed to lead to free and fair elections.
In June, the Security Council established a United Nations political mission to assist Sudan’s political transition, support peace processes, assist in peacebuilding, protection of civilians and the rule of law, particularly in Darfur, and help coordinate humanitarian and development assistance.
Many people in Darfur say UNAMID has not effectively protected them, but fear its withdrawal will make them more vulnerable and have staged protests in recent weeks.
On Sunday, thousands of displaced people in the region protested against the UN decision to end the mandate of UNAMID. Protesters, mostly displaced women and children, want the peacekeepers to stay.
Adam Regal, spokesperson for a local organization that helps manage refugee camps in Darfur, told the Associated Press news agency that the exit of UNAMID would create a “security vacuum” in an area with several militias. active.
In October, the transitional authorities in Sudan finalized a peace deal with some rebel groups in Darfur. But the deal excluded the group that has been most active on the ground.
Earlier this week, tribal clashes in the troubled region killed at least 15 people, forcing authorities to deploy more troops, the state news agency reported.
The unrest poses a challenge for authorities in the capital, Khartoum, who are trying to end the country’s long-standing rebellions as part of a fragile transition to democracy.