- Chad - Darfur - United Nations
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 24 (Reuters) - The U.N. Security
Council extended the mandate of a peacekeeping force in eastern
Chad and Central African Republic on Wednesday and said it
would keep international peacekeepers there beyond the March 2009
expiration of the force's mandate.
The council decided a year ago to deploy a European Union
peacekeeping force in the two countries, as well as a U.N.
mission, to train and support Chadian police to guard U.N.-run
Since early this year, more than 3,000 European soldiers
from over a dozen countries have begun a one-year mission to
protect refugees, civilians and aid workers in eastern Chad
from the conflict spilling over from Sudan's Darfur region.
Since the EU force's deployment, some military experts and
aid workers have questioned whether it has the capacity or
strength to protect refugees and relief workers in a rugged
operating area of several hundred thousand square miles.
The international charity Oxfam said this month that the
United Nations and the EU had failed to protect civilians from
violence in eastern Chad and should urgently strengthen
policing operations there.
Wednesday's Security Council resolution extended the
mandate of the force until March 15, 2009 and expressed the
Council's intention to deploy U.N. peacekeepers to follow up
the EU force in Chad and Central African Republic after that.
It asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to start planning
and raising troops and logistics for such a force.
The conflict that flared in Darfur region five years ago
after rebels took up arms against Sudan's government has led to
refugees being driven into neighboring countries to flee
attacks by pro-government militia, called Janjaweed.
This created havoc in Chad and the Central African Republic
and played into existing conflicts there.