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Egyptian peacekeepers depart Cairo for Sudan's Darfur

Second group of Egyptian officers sets out for Sudan on Sunday to join ongoing peacekeeping operations in troubled Darfur region

Ahram Online, Sunday 21 Oct 2012
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Sixty-three officers and soldiers affiliated with Egypt's interior ministry departed from Cairo on Sunday to join international peacekeeping forces in Sudan's troubled Darfur region.

It is the second group of Egyptian officers to depart Cairo for Darfur this week. The first group included 12 officers and 52 low-ranking officers who left for Darfur on Saturday.

The men were dispatched within the context of Egyptian participation in security and peacekeeping operations in Darfur, which is being staged in coordination with the United Nations and the African Union.

On Wednesday, an international peacekeeper was killed and three wounded in an ambush in Darfur, according to international force UNAMID. The attack came two weeks after four Nigerian peacekeepers were killed in the same area.

UNAMID, the world's largest peacekeeping mission, was deployed by the UN and the African Union in the troubled western territory following fierce fighting in 2003 that forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

Darfur has been plagued by violence since rebels took up arms in 2003, complaining that the central government had neglected the remote western territory.

While violence is down from its peak in 2003 and 2004, law and order have collapsed in certain parts of the territory, while banditry, tribal conflicts and clashes between rebels and government forces have continued.

Last year, the Sudanese government signed a Qatar-sponsored peace deal with an umbrella group consisting of smaller rebel groups, but major rebel factions refused to join.

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