By Celestine Ajayi
In a joint statement, AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on all Sudanese actors to ensure a safe and orderly drawdown of the UN-AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) over the next six months and the ensuing period of liquidation.
The statement came as the joint mission officially ended mandated operations on Thursday and the government of Sudan will take over responsibility for the protection of civilians in the area.
The establishment of “this unique hybrid mission was a historic undertaking, through which both organisations and a number of troop and the Police contributing countries and donors have been engaged in collective efforts to protect civilians and help build peace in Darfur’’, the statement said.
They reiterated their commitment to continue assisting the government and people of Sudan in consolidating the gains made in the peace process and implementing the National Plan of Action on Civilian Protection.
On Dec. 22, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2559, which ends the UNAMID’s mandate on Dec. 31.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the UNAMID confirmed the decision to end its mission.
In October, a milestone peace agreement was reached between the Sudanese authorities and two armed groups in Darfur.
Starting from Friday, the UNAMID’s troops and police personnel will focus on providing security for the mission’s drawdown activities, personnel and assets.
The UNAMID will have a period of six months to undertake the drawdown, which will be conducted in a phased manner.
The process will involve repatriating troops, their vehicles and other equipment, separation of international and national staff as well as a sequential closure of the mission’s team sites and offices and handing them over to designated entities in line with UN rules.
The Sudanese government will assume the primary role in supporting the peace process, facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance and supporting the mediation of inter-communal conflicts.
The UN will, however, continue to support the nation through its UN Country Team and the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan, which will help the joint military-civilian Sovereign Council.
The sovereign council is currently ruling the country until elections can be held, in governance reform and its efforts to resolve the country’s deep economic crisis, according to the UN.