Infantry troops from Burkina Faso join African-UN force in Darfur
Published: Aug 05, 2009 12:49 PM Updated: May 25, 2011 12:55 PM

The first infantry soldiers from Burkina Faso arrived on Tuesday in Darfur, Sudan to serve with the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission, UN officials said here.

The Burkina Faso soldiers started the peacekeeping operations in the troubled Sudanese region as more blue helmets from three other countries prepare to join the force soon as well, the officials said.

An advance party of 134 soldiers arrived in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state, with another 133 scheduled to arrive next Tuesday, according to the hybrid mission, known as UNAMID.

The remaining members of the infantry battalion -- totaling more than 800 soldiers -- are expected to be deployed by mid-September in El Geneina and Foro Baranga in West Darfur state.

Today's arrival means UNAMID now has 13,651 military personnel deployed across the Sudanese region, or nearly 70 percent of the authorized number of staff under the 2007 Security Council resolution setting up the force, said the officials.

The mission also reported on Tuesday that more troops from Ethiopia, Tanzania and Egypt are expected to be deployed in Darfur later this month, further boosting its strength.

The Security Council authorized the deployment of UNAMID to try to quell fighting and protect civilians in Darfur, where an estimated 300,000 have been reported killed and some 2.7 million others displaced from their homes since fighting erupted in 2003, pitting government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen against rebel groups.

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