A peacekeeping force IS to be sent to Sudan’s troubled Darfur region. A resolution – co-sponsored by the UK and France -has been approved unanimously by the UN’s Security Council. Up to 26,000 personnel – the world’s largest peacekeeping force – will be deployed in a joint UN and African Union operation. Despite the current presence of African Union troops more than 200,000 people have died in the conflict which has also left two million people homeless, fleeing to refugee camps. In 2003 rebel groups took up arms against the Sudanese government which they accused of neglecting their arid region of Darfur.
Years of murder, rape and military bombardments have followed. The mandate for the new mission will be to quell the violence and to protect ordinary people and aid workers, using force if necessary. However, the watered down resolution will not allow for the seizure and disposal of illegal arms. UN member states have up to 30 days to finalise their contributions to the operation. Washington has threatened to impose sanctions on the Sudanese government if it refuses to accept the deployment of the troops.