UN Mission in Darfur Dismisses Nigeria Soldiers
Head of the UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Prof. Ibrahim Gambari told the United Nations News Centre that one of the challenges for UNAMID in Darfur was determining the quality of the troops they send to the UN.
Gambari, a former Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister and Permanent Representative to the UN, said the Nigerian soldiers had not performed to par.
“They [UNAMID] repatriated the battalion [Nigerian soldiers]. The Nigerian government has addressed the issue and is preparing to send new ones,” Gambari told UN News Centre.
Gambari also stated that it was important for UNAMID to make sure all the top contributor countries ensure that the quality and quantity of contingents’ equipment are up to par.
UNAMID must ensure that pre-deployment training given to soldiers is adequate, thorough and rigorous.
The selection of the soldiers sent by contributor nations must be reviewed by UNAMID to be of the topmost quality and that they operate much more cohesively.
Gambari who described the repatriation of the Nigerian soldiers as “sad” has been praised by the current and immediate past Secretary-General for outstanding service to the UN.
The Nigerian has held other top UN posts including being the Special Adviser on Africa and the head of the UN Department of Political Affairs.
UNAMID is the largest peacekeeping mission in existence worldwide, with 26,000 personnel, and its mandate was recently renewed by the UN Security Council.
In August 2004, the African Union sent 150 Rwandan troops in to protect the ceasefire monitors. The Rwandans were soon supported by another 150 Nigerian soldiers.
On September 15, 2005, a series of African Union mediated talks began in Abuja, Nigeria between representatives of the Sudanese government and the two major rebel groups.
Since the mission in Darfur began, 14 Nigerian soldiers have lost their lives in service for UNAMID.