03 February; UNAMID’s Team Site in Kutum Locality, North Darfur was officially handed over to the North Darfur State Government (NDSG). The handover is part of the Mission’s drawdown plan in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 2559 (2020) which terminated UNAMIDs mandate as of 31 December 2020 and authorized a six-month period for the Mission to complete the withdrawal of all uniformed and civilian personnel by 30 June 2021, other than those required for the Mission’s liquidation. The newly appointed Officer-in-Charge of the Mission, Mr. M’Baye Babacar Cissé, signed the handover documents on behalf of the Mission and Mr. Hafiz Bakhit, on behalf of the North Darfur State Government, in the presence of representatives of the local community and UNAMID staff.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Mr. Babacar Cisse’, noted that the handover of UNAMID Team Site in Kutum is a result of the good partnership between UNAMID, the State Authorities and the host communities. “I am very pleased that this facility will be utilized by El Fasher University to establish the College of Engineering, Mining and Land Sciences other related uses meant for the common good of the local community.” Other sections of the former team site will be converted into women and youth centers, and as a location for the delivery of veterinary services. It is indeed our hope that these premises and assets will contribute to the enhancement of efforts to preserve peace and promote peaceful coexistence in the community,” Mr. Cisse’ added.
UNAMID’s Director of Mission Support (DMS), Mr. Houston Fergusson, expressed his profound appreciation to the Mission’s Senegalese Formed Police Unit (FPU) and the civilian staff for supporting the local community of Kutum during their tenure and for appropriately preparing the Team Site for the handover. Mr. Fergusson also emphasized that in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2495 (2019), 2525 (2020), 2559 (2020) and the stated intent of the Government of the Sudan to the Security Council, the Government committed to ensuring that the land, property and assets are used exclusively for civilian purposes specifically for the College of Engineering, Mining and Land Sciences, El Fasher University and for the general benefit the community, as per decree 181 of the North Darfur Wali dated 3 September 2019.
Addressing handover ceremony attendees, Brigadier General, Dr. Mohamed Ahmed Abakar, the Head of the Government Joint Task Force on UNAMID Drawdown and Exit, commended UNAMID for its significant efforts in preserving security and supporting peace efforts in Darfur since its establishment in 2007 to date. “I congratulate UNAMID for initiating this smooth exit plan in line with the UN Security Council Resolution (2559), that stipulated the withdrawal of UNAMID and the handing over of its Team Sites to the Government of Sudan. We reiterate the commitment of the Government of Sudan to protect the civilian population and UNAMID personnel, and its assets until the complete exit of the Mission from Sudan. These UNAMID gifted assets are to be used for civilian purposes and for that we urge the communities, who are hosting UNAMID, to jealously preserve and protect these assets that will be of immense benefit to their communities. Our role, as the Government, is to make sure that these gifted assets are used strictly for civilian purposes.”
Mr. Hafiz Bakhit, who represented the Wali (Governor) of North Darfur State at the event, applauded UNAMID for the efforts the Mission has exerted in maintaining peace and security in Darfur since its establishment and for the continued support it has rendered to the people of Darfur. “The Government of North Darfur is committed to protect UNAMID facilities all over Darfur after it’s exit from the region, However, the support of the local community is critical in making that protection sustainable. This site is to be transformed into an Engineering College, affiliated to El Fasher University. Other available spaces inside the Team Site will be used for services, such as education and health”, Mr. Bakhit said.
As is normal practice at these handover ceremonies, the UN and AU Flags were lowered, and the Sudanese Flag hoisted.
This is the second Team Site in North Darfur to be handed over to the State Government (NDSG) as part of the first phase of the closure of the Mission’s Team Sites in UNAMID’s area of operation. Saraf Umra Team site was handed over to NDSG last month on 21 January. Eleven more Team Sites are in line for similar closures in the coming weeks as part of the Mission’s drawdown and follow-on liquidation processes.