The joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force for Darfur is facing the prospect of being deployed with around one third of the agreed number of troops, according to the force commander. 26 000 international troops and police have been promised for the UNAMID force, due to take over in the troubled Sudanese region on January 1st.
But General Martin Agwai said contributing countries are failing to deliver on their promises of men and military hardware. He said his force is also lacking helicopters and other vital equipment. And he warned that were the force not to be deployed, the troubles in Darfur could revert to square one.
The UN estimates the conflict in Darfur has cost 200 000 lives and displaced 2.5-million people. The government in Khartoum claims the real figures are much lower. The new hybrid force is intended to take over from an African Union contingent which has been unable to stop the violence so far. Those troops will form the basis of the new UNAMID mission.