Sudan, UNAMID ink protocol to protect Darfur peacekeepers

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December 29, 2009 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese government and the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) signed today a protocol including safety measures to ensure the security of the peacekeepers working in the restive region.

The deal comes after the killing of 20 peacekeepers in violence since the African Union United Nation operation took over from the African mission in January 2008. Also two civilian personnel had been abducted last August and only released some 100 days after earlier this month.

Also, following the killing of five Rwandans peacekeepers during the first week of December in two successive attacks, Kigali pointed fingers at Sudan suggesting the latter is responsible for the deadly attacks over the weekend against its soldiers.

The framework for a plan of action for the safely of UNAMID personnel and their assets was signed on Tuesday by the Director of international cooperation at the Sudanese Defense ministry Lt Gen. Magzoub Rahma and UNAMID Force Commander, Lt-Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba.

Following the signing ceremony, Nyamvumba said that this plan will enhance the existing Status Of Forces Agreement (SOFA) which guides the operations of the hybrid force, the hybrid mission reported in its daily news bulletin.

"It will provide additional measures to cap the growing trend of insecurity in Darfur," he added.

The two parties held a meeting in Khartoum on Sunday 20 December to discuss ways and means of reducing attacks on UNAMID.

The signed plan of action will be endorsed in two weeks.

According to the SOFA signed in February 2008, Sudanese government is responsible of the security and protection of UNAMID peacekeeping personnel and their assets.