Sudan: 23,000 peacekeepers planned for mission in Darfur - official

LAGOS, Jun 3, 2007 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Some 23,000 hybrid UN and African Union (UN-AU) forces will be involved in the peacekeeping mission in Sudan's Darfur region, Nigeria's outgoing Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) Martin Luther Agwai said over the weekend.

Addressing a farewell parade by soldiers of the 2nd Mechanized Division of Nigeria Army in Ibadan, capital of southwestern state of Oyo, Agwai explained that the peacekeepers would comprise 20, 000 military and 3,000 police personnel.

Agwai, who was last month appointed by the UN as the force commander of the UN-AU peacekeeping force in Sudan, said that the joint UN-AU operation in Darfur was necessitated by the lack of funds experienced by the African Union which hampered the payment of the peacekeeping force.

Last November, the African Union said it was broke and that it did not have the resources to continue to run the operations in the Darfur region, according to Agwai.

And that is why the United Nations is taking over the operations named "UN-AU Hybrid" force in Darfur, he added.