Sudan

Sudan: African Union appeals for more aid to increase force in Darfur

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Addis Ababa (dpa) - The African Union (A.U.) appealed Thursday for additional donor support to increase the strength of its troop presence in the troubled Sudanese province of Darfur to over 7,000.

The A.U. plans to increase the African Mission in Sudan (AMIS) to 7,100, including 1,560 police and civilian staff, for peacekeeping and security duties by the end of September, a statement from the organization said.

The airlifting of the first Nigerian battalion of 680 troops to Darfur is expected to be completed Thursday.

Military observers and an additional 600 police officers out of a total of 815 were deployed to Darfur earlier this month.

The personnel would enable "24-hour" police monitoring in refugee camps, the statement said.

A.U. Commission Chairman Alpha Alpha Oumar Konare said that the logistical support for the increased troop presence had been met, but what was urgently needed was more financial support to sustain it.

This was the second time in a week that the A.U. appealed for financial support, having said earlier it was faced with a shortfall of 200 million dollars in its annual budget of 460 million dollars.

Konare welcomed the agreement reached earlier this month at the Inter-Sudanese Talks in Abuja, Nigeria, which he described as paving the way "for substantive discussion" on the important issue of sharing power and wealth and security arrangements in Darfur. dpa gh wjh

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