The Force Commander of UNAMID, the joint United Nations-African Union mission in Darfur has said that the force is still ill-equipped.
General Martin Luther Agwai the head of UNAMID said that despite the concerted
efforts to beef up the mission, they still lack equipment.
He said this during a meeting which brought together various stakeholders to discuss the way forward for the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).
"The mission was revised but we still have problems. For example, we have 105 APCs (Armored Personnel Carriers) that we got from Canada but they had also been written off because of being very old," said Angwai.
The meeting which brings together academics, policy makers and members of the civil society aims at identifying the progress, challenges and opportunities of the ICGLR since its inception one year ago.
During his presentation, Angwai said that other challenges to the mission which became a hybrid force in January, is the disintegration of the warring factions which brings complexities in mediating them.
"The groups have been multiplying ever since the mission began under the African Union and they have now gone up to twenty. The bigger the number, the more difficult for us to broker peace," said the Nigerian General.
He suggested that this force in Darfur should form a nucleus for an eventual African standby force.
‘I base this on the fact that this mission is led by Africans in all sectors, right from the joint representative to sector commanders," added Angwai who is deputized by Rwanda’s Maj. Gen Karenzi Karake.
According to Angwai, Rwanda and Nigeria are the largest contributors to the 26,000 strong force.
The Head of Mission of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) said that it is always imperative for policy makers to use the services of researchers from the academia.
Arne Strom said that researchers may play a major role in solving regional conflicts.
SIDA was co-sponsor of the annual conference on conflict management which took place for the fourth time.
Academicians from at least ten countries attended the conference which is expected to end today.
While opening the conference, Senate President Vincent Biruta said that the ICGLR is a roadmap towards the attainment of regional stability which will lead to economic development.
He urged all member states to ratify the declaration on the implementation of the pact on security, stability and development of the region to do so.
According to the ICGLR Executive Secretary Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, seven of the 11 countries have ratified the pact.