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Tension persists as troop build-up continues on both sides of Chad-Sudan border - UN

18 January 2006 Sudan’s West Darfur province remains tense, with Chadian troops and Sudan Armed Forces on both sides of the border being reinforced amid a recent spate of attacks on commercial and non-governmental organization (NGO) vehicles in the area, the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said today.

In South Darfur banditry has continued and buses and commercial vehicles contracted to international NGO humanitarian agencies have been attacked, according to a spokesman for the mission.

In Southern Sudan, two anti-tank mines were discovered, one on the Juba-Yei road and one on the Gogrial-Wau road. The UN Mine Action Office declared the usually heavily-travelled Juba-Yei road a no-go area for the UN, limiting the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Over last weekend and on Monday, UNMIS chief Jan Pronk visited Washington, DC, where he met with officials of the World Bank and the United States Administration for discussions on Sudan, including Darfur, and on relations between Sudan and Chad.

He also briefed NATO officials in Brussels today on the same issues.

The total UNMIS military presence in Sudan now stands at 5,451 out of an authorized force of 9,836. Force Commander-Designate Lieutenant-General Jasbir Singh Lidder from India arrived on 10 January and will assume command of UN peacekeeping troops on 28 January. He succeeds Major-General Fazle Elahi Akbar from Bangladesh, who has commanded the UNMIS troops since March of last year.


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