Zalingei, 15 May 2019- On 14 May 2019, the eve of UNAMID’s scheduled handover of its Sector West Headquarters in El Geneina, an unruly crowd forcefully intruded into the super camp, where they looted UN property and contingent-owned-equipment, vandalized premises and put the lives of UN staff and personnel at grave risk. According to our reports, the crowd of looters included elements in Government of Sudan (GoS) Police and military uniforms. Earlier in the day, the intruders had gathered in front of the main gate, blocked it and later in the evening forced their way into the camp.
UNAMID condemns these acts in the strongest possible terms as they constitute a blatant violation of international norms governing the presence of UN peacekeepers across the world. The Mission also extremely regrets these actions, which are contrary to peaceful behaviour. It is particularly deplorable that Sudanese military and Police personnel, who were called in to assist UN peacekeepers in securing the camp, had allegedly joined in these acts of looting and vandalism.
“We strongly condemn this incident and call on the relevant authorities to take every possible step to bring the uniformed personnel who were alleged to have been part of the looting to account,” said Jeremiah Kingsley Mamabolo, UNAMID Joint Special Representative (JSR).
UNAMID commends the quick action taken by the commander and troops of the Ethiopian battalion responsible for securing the camp, who avoided confrontation with the uniformed elements that had joined in the looting and gathered UN staff into one location and ensured their safety and security.
The Mission wishes to remind the Government of Sudan and the local populations of their obligation to safeguard UNAMID personnel and assets in accordance with the State of Forces Agreement (SOFA). UNAMID is committed to protecting its staff and assets and reminds would-be perpetrators that it is mandated, under Chapter VII, to protect UNAMID personnel and assets by all means available to it, including through the use of force.
The Mission has dispatched troop reinforcements from Zalingei Mission Headquarters and Saraf Umra Team Site to El Geneina to strengthen its protection arrangements ahead of the planned handover of the camp later today.
“We call on the Government of Sudan to facilitate the handover process, particularly the safe exit of UNAMID staff and personnel who are still in the Sector HQ in El Geneina,” the JSR said. “I hope the camp will be used for the benefit of the civilian population upon its handover to GoS authorities.”