20 October 2008 Over 100 Nepalese police officers have arrived to serve with the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the operation has announced, as it continues to deploy uniformed personnel across the war-wracked Sudanese region.
The officers arrived yesterday to start a year-long tour of duty, UNAMID reported from Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state. Nearly 40 more officers will also join UNAMID tomorrow to form a 147-stong Nepalese formed police unit (FPU).
FPUs are specialized, self-sufficient and fully mobile rapid reaction police units that are entirely composed of police officers from a single contingent, with expertise in crowd management and other police tactical operations.
The Nepalese officers may be required to engage in high-risk assignments and the protection of people in imminent danger, preventing attacks and curbing threats against civilians.
Some 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed across the impoverished, arid region in Darfur since fighting erupted between rebels, Government forces and allied militiamen in 2003. Another 2.7 million people have been displaced from their homes.
The FPUs will monitor and provide security and protection to Darfur internally displaced person (IDP) camps, threatened villages, and migration routes.
Besides providing security, the FPUs will also assist national authorities and UN agencies in delivering humanitarian assistance in times of need and conducting escort duties in order to build the confidence of the local population in the rule of law.
Members of the FPU will work with a team of police advisers to carry out the patrols in line with the mandate of UNAMID, which is trying to quell violence and humanitarian suffering across the conflict torn region.
The Nepalese FPU is the third country-based unit to be deployed – following in the footsteps of Bangladesh and Indonesia – out of 19 such units mandated by the Security Council resolution creating UNAMID.
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