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Politics | Human rights

Tanzania to send 918 troops to Sudan

afrol News, 20 January - Tanzanian government will send more than 900 troops to Sudan's Darfur region to aid the United Nations and African Union peacekeeping mission working in the country, the governemnt has announced.

The Sudan's Darfur conflict which started in 2003, has killed more than 300,000 people as a result of direct combat, disease or malnutrition. An estimated 2.7 million people have been displaced because of fighting among rebels, government forces and Janjaweed.

Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Bernard Membe told a news conference in Dar es Salaam that the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Committee had endorsed the plan to send troops in Darfur, saying troops are scheduled to leave in March.

President Jakaya Kikwete had pledged Tanzania's desire to send its troops to Darfur at a meeting with the outgoing US Secretary of State Dr Condoleezza Rice in New York, in 2007, according to the local newspaper, Daily News.

Mr Membe said however president Kikwete said he would only send troops once the AU and the UN fulfilled the required logistics arrangements for his troops.

The AU chairman, President Kikwete, well renowned for his involvement in conflict resolution in Africa, has advanced his influence and position in the AU to unravel the Darfur crisis.

"The Parliamentary Committee has commended the AU Chairman for achievements in the Comoros, Kenya, and Darfur. The AU firmly leading to suspension of planed arrest and prosecution of President Omar al Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC)," said Mr Membe.

In July, International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo charged President Omar Al Bashir with orchestrating a campaign of genocide in the Darfur region. The charges include war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

However his indictment has sparked outrage among Sudanese and other international communities, others fearing a possible violence if the ICC arrest the president.

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