Bashir Wants UNAMID to Leave Darfur

Bashir Wants UNAMID to Leave DarfurBashir Wants UNAMID to Leave Darfur

A peacekeeping force in Darfur has become a security burden and should leave, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said on Sunday, escalating a row that has already led to the closure a joint United Nations-African Union office in Khartoum.

The Darfur conflict erupted in 2003 when mainly African tribes took up arms against the government in Khartoum, Reuters wrote.

The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has been deployed in Darfur since 2007 with a mandate to stem violence against civilians in a war that has seen the International Criminal Court issue a warrant for Bashir’s arrest on charges of war crimes and genocide.

Sudan said last week it had shut UNAMID’s human rights office in Khartoum.

On Sunday, Bashir himself weighed in, raising the pressure on UNAMID.

“The UNAMID forces have become a security burden for us more than a support and they are incapable of defending themselves. These forces came to protect the rebellion and not the citizen,” Bashir told a press conference.

“We now need a clear program for the exit of UNAMID forces.”

The latest spat comes after Sudan rejected UNAMID’s application to visit for a second time the village of Tabit in northern Darfur, the site of an alleged rape of 200 women and girls by Sudanese troops.

Khartoum has dismissed the rape allegations as lies aimed at tarnishing its image.