UN Renews Darfur Mission, Shrinks Force

Posted July 31st, 2012 at 12:05 pm (UTC-5)
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The U.N. Security Council has extended the mandate of peacekeepers in Sudan's Darfur region but is slightly cutting the size of the force.

The Security Council adopted a resolution Tuesday extending the joint U.N.-African Union mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID, through July 31 of next year.

The measure lowers the number of troops in the force to 16,200 — a cut of about 3 percent — and reduces the number of police to about 4,700, a larger cut of 13 percent.

The council renewed its call for productive peace talks in Darfur, where rebels have been fighting Sudan's central government since 2003.

Police used teargas Tuesday to break up a protest in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state. Witnesses say several demonstrators were injured.

The protesters burned tires and chanted “The people want the fall of the regime.”

Sudan has seen recurring small-scale protests against high prices and the government, but the demonstrations have not grown to the size of movements that toppled governments in Egypt and other Arab countries.

Fourteen countries voted in favor of Tuesday's Security Council resolution, with one abstention from Azerbaijan.