Gambia has deployed at least 200 troops to Sudan’s troubled Darfur region to support the UN peacekeeping mission.
Gambian troops will provide escort, assist in the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance and protect civilians from violence.
The killings in Darfur, Western Sudan started in 2003. Unrest and violence still persist. Darfuri men, women and children are being killed in mass.
The genocide is being carried out by a group of government-armed and funded Arab militias known as the Janjaweed, which loosely translates to ‘devils on horseback’.
The Janjaweed systematically destroy Darfurians by burning villages, looting economic resources, polluting water sources, and murdering, raping, and torturing civilians.
Since 1997, the Gambia has sent peacekeeping forces to Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Timor Leste, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan, Burundi, Darfur, Afghanistan, Nepal, and Chad.
Former President Yahya Jammeh also contributed over 100 troops to UN missions in 2003 and 2004 (over 100 troops each year), and over 200 troops from 2008 to 2010. He was defeated in the polls last year and fled to Equatorial Guinea.
Sudan is the largest country in Africa. Located in Northeastern Africa, it borders the Red Sea and falls between Egypt, Chad, Uganda, as well as six other countries.
The capital, Khartoum, is in the Northeastern part of the country. Darfur is a region in Western Sudan that encompasses an area roughly the size of Spain.
The population of Darfur is estimated at 6,000,000 people. The conflict in Darfur has also increased tensions in neighboring Chad and the Central African Republic as hundreds of thousands of refugees stream over the two countries’ borders to escape violence.