Darfur UN-AU mission cuts 770 jobs

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The UN-AU mission in Sudan’s Darfur (UNAMID) will cut 770 civilian jobs, it said on Saturday, as it faces pressure from Khartoum to withdraw from the war-torn western region.

“The total number of posts cut in real terms is 770,” UNAMID said, adding that both Sudanese and international staff will be affected.

The decision was made after a strategic review of the mission, the statement said, and was unconnected to calls from Sudan’s government for the mission to leave.

UNAMID deployed in 2007 to protect civilians and secure humanitarian aid, four years after ethnic insurgents rebelled against Khartoum, complaining of marginalisation.

It currently employs 4 110 civilians and also has around 15 000 military and police peacekeepers in the region.

Unamid’s relations with the government have deteriorated over its attempts to investigate a report that Sudanese troops raped more than 200 women and girls in a Darfur village last October.

The government slammed the mission as weak and demanded that it prepare an exit strategy.

A first round of talks on its departure ended on 19 February, and more are scheduled for March.

Some 300 000 people have been killed and more than two million displaced by the fighting in Darfur, the UN says.

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