|July 6, 2004
African Union Troops Deploy in Darfur
Sam Ibok, Director of the Peace and Security Division of the AU Commission has confirmed that a "Protection Force" consisting of 300 African Union soldiers are being deployed in Darfur in Western Sudan to "restore confidence in the region," and make it safe for displaced people to return to their homes.
Sam Ibok, AU Commission
The force is also there to provide security for observers who have been monitoring the situation since last year. The AU Peace and Security Council is also deploying monitors along the Chad-Sudan border. The monitoring and observer teams consist of the 12 members of the Ceasefire Commission, and 132 observers.
The troops are being drawn from units in the AU states of Rwanda, Nigeria, Botswana and Tanzania. The mission will cost an estimated US $26 million.
The AU Commission says that although the situation in Darfur is quite serious, it does not appear to constitute a genocide, and that further investigation is going to have to determine if in fact a genocide has taken place. Sam Ibok is quoted as stating that "We cannot describe what is happening in Darfur as genocide, but it has the potential of deteriorating or degenerating..."
Peace talks between the Darfur rebels and the Sudan state government are set to begin on July 15, 2004 in Africa's capital, Addis Ababa. The state of Sudan claims to have stopped attacking the rebels and has started to disarm the Janjaweed militia who have been harassing, abusing and killing the civilians in Darfur.