African Union delays troop deployment to Sudan

The African Union has announced that the deployment of troops to the Darfur region of Sudan scheduled for Sunday will be postponed about a week. The first troops were to come from Rwanda, but an official said Saturday that logistical problems had yet to be solved, preventing the deployment of the partial battalion. Rwandan Foreign Minister Charles Muligande said that the troops would be deployed as soon as possible. The troops will be reinforced by the deployment of a Nigerian battalion to be in place by October 30, according to Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is the current head of the AU. The AU force will eventually comprise 5 battalions from various African countries. The AU was authorized to expand its troop deployment by the UN Security Council in response to the expanding humanitarian crisis in the area. UN World Health Organization officials released new figures on Friday estimating the number of deaths due solely to hunger and disease in the region since conflict began to be over 70,000, and that tens of thousands will continue to die each month unless conditions rapidly improve. Sudanese officials have hotly contested these figures, claiming that the total of health related deaths is only 7000. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on the Sudan situation. The Sudan Tribune has more on the delay of the Rwandan troops here, more on the release of the WHO figures, and more on the denial of those figures by the Sudanese government.

 

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