ADDIS ABABA, -- The African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council has endorsed a recommendation to extend the mandate of the AU-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) in western Sudan, for another 12 months until June 30, 2017.

The United Nations' top peacekeeping official, Herve Ladsous, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, has advised the UN Security Council to follow suit.

Ladsous told the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday that, following a recent assessment of the situation in Darfur, from July 1 2015 to May 15, 2015, which showed little progress, the mandate of the AU-UN should be extended for another year without changes to its priorities or its authorised troop and police ceiling levels.

The assessment was contained in the Special Report of the UN Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the AU Commission on UNAMID.

The report provided an analysis of military and police components, and presented recommendations on how to improve the operational effectiveness of UNAMID, as well as an update on the status of tripartite discussions on the exit strategy of the organisation among the AU, the UN and Sudan's government.

Ladsous said the sectarian violence emanating from disputes over access to land; water and grazing areas remained a major cause of insecurity in Darfur.

While direct clashes between the government and armed movements in Dafur had subsided, fighting with the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW) in Jebel Marra, which rejects any negotiations with the Sudanese government, has continued.

As many as 2.6 million people remain displaced across Darfur, a vast, arid region of almost half a million square kilometres. The UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported 80,000 verified displaced persons since the resumption of fighting in Jebel Marra in mid-January.

Source: Name News Network

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