Sudan

Sudan: NATO starts airlifting African Union troops to Darfur

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NATO has launched its airlift operations in support of the the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS), with the first movement of Nigerian troops on 1 July. Airlifts of personnel from Gambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa will continue through July, August and September.

Coordination is working well between the African Union's Joint Forward Based Movement Cell in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, NATO's Allied Movement Coordination Centre in Europe and the European Airlift Centre.

Later in the summer, NATO will help to organise a map exercise for African Union troops. The MAPEX will help AU personnel to understand and operate effectively in the theatre of operations, as well as build their capacity to manage strategic operations.

Towards the end of August, staff capacity-building activities are due to start in Nairobi, Kenya. NATO will help to train AU personnel in key headquarters functions such as command and contol, logistics and planning.

Eight NATO personnel have been deployed to help coordinate NATO's airlift support -- seven to Addis Ababa and one to Nigeria, who will later move to other locations based on the airlift schedule. Sixteen personnel will be deployed to conduct the map exercise and another eight to organise the staff capability-building.

NATO agreed on 8 June to help the African Union expand its mission in Darfur , following a request from the African Union. NATO's support is being closely coordinated with the African Union and with other international actors, particularly the European Union and the United Nations.