Security remains source of concern in Darfur despite massive troop deployment

(KHARTOUM) - Sudan has deployed a significant number of troops in West and South Darfur states to prevent renewal of intercommunal attacks. However, the volatile security situation remains the main concern in the region.

The death of over 200 people following tribal attacks in the two states a few weeks after the termination of the 6000-troop peacekeeping mission in Darfur pushed Khartoum to swiftly deploy additional troops in West Darfur first and South Darfur after this week.

In a report released on Saturday, the UNFPA pointed to the heavy presence of security forces in Geneina, saying that it "resulted in the improvement of the situation in the town and led to partial re-opening of markets for a few days".

The international agency further said that the situation outside El-Geneina remains unstable, adding that gunmen attacked a group of five women in Mesteri of Beida locality before the intervention of government forces to rescue them.

"Residents fear an imminent attack and are concerned that security forces in Mesteri are not sufficient enough to prevent (any) possible attack," further said the UNFPA.

In a meeting held on 28 January, the Friends of Sudan praised the swift reaction of the Sudanese government to the recent inter-communal attacks and urged to implement the national security plan to protect displaced people and civilians in Darfur.

On Saturday, South Darfur state received security forces dubbed "Peace Shield Forces" which will be deployed in the areas that witnessed the clashes between the Rizeiggat and Falatah in the recent past weeks.

Hamid Hanoun, South Darfur Deputy Governor told the official SUNA that the force is tasked with the protection of civilians in the state. He added that the military contingents of the Rapid Support Forces are operating under the control of legal advisers from the Attorney General office.

For its part, the newly established UN political mission in Sudan, UNITAMS, said it reached out Darfur states officials, civil society groups and local communities including displaced people in Jebel Marra.

UNITAMS received a "clear message from IDPs in Darfur to UNITAMS. Urgent protection concerns remain the number one priority, including conflict-related sexual violence against women and girls.

Source: Sudan Tribune

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