The peacekeeping mission in Sudan hangs in the balance as the International Criminal Court decides whether to issue an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
The ICC prosecutor has charged Sudan’s leader with war crimes, including personally ordering genocide against Sudan’s Christians.
The ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, said he wanted to save millions who are living in fear of their lives, particularly in the Western Darfur region.
But an arrest warrant could be months in coming, and the understaffed peacekeepers in Darfur are ripe for retaliation. Seven died in a militia attack last week. The African Union urged a rethink as Khartoum said it could not guarantee peacekeepers’ safety.
UNAMID force commander General Martin Agwai
said certain staff were being pulled out as a precautionary measure.
“Those not critical to the mission are being relocated temporarily, until things improve. Then we can bring them back to the mission to continue,” he said.
Demonstrations have already begun in Sudan’s capital. Al-Bashir would be the third head of state to be charged with war crimes by the ICC after Slobodan Milosevic and Liberia’s Charles Taylor.