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The Challenges of Force Preparation and Deployment for Africa: Lessons from Darfur Ambassador Abiodun BASHUA African Union-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)

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Presentation on theme: "The Challenges of Force Preparation and Deployment for Africa: Lessons from Darfur Ambassador Abiodun BASHUA African Union-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Challenges of Force Preparation and Deployment for Africa: Lessons from Darfur Ambassador Abiodun BASHUA African Union-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)

2 2 Scope The presentation discusses: Force generation and challenges during AMIS and since the beginning of UNAMID Concept of Operations (ConOps) of UNAMID Some advantages of Hybrid Operations Concluding remarks

3 Darfur: Perception versus Reality The conflict in Darfur captured the worlds attention like few other wars in Africa. Perhaps because it occurred at the eve of the tenth anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda Darfur conflict has been portrayed, coarsely and overly simplistically as the ethnic cleansing of black Africans by lighter-skinned, armed Arabs. The Darfur war has captured the attention of activists, politicians, policy makers and the general public throughout the world, and is perhaps the most talked about and popular internal conflict on the planet today 3

4 Darfur: Perception versus Reality Continued The conflict is complex, chaotic, dynamic and multi-dimensional. SAF and pro-government armed militia fought against opposition forces; both government and opposition forces attack and displace civilians; Pro-government militia occasionally turned against government forces; movements have fragmented, re-aligned, changed sides, opted in and out of peace talks with dizzying frequency. Inter- and intra tribal fighting accounts for more fatalities than armed clashes (679/652 from January to June 2010 alone). Widespread criminality and banditry, targets IDPs, communities, government officials, humanitarians and peacekeepers. One third of Darfurs population has been displaced (2.3m), the humanitarian situation is precarious, and no comprehensive peace agreement in sight. Despite the above situation, and for geo-political, security and humanitarian considerations, the international community intervened in the complex and protracted conflict in Darfur. 4

5 AMIS: An Overview International military intervention initially came in the form of AMIS, the African Union Mission in Sudan. The mission, formed in July 2004, was the product of several African Union members preference for an African solution to an African problem; an approach that matched the desire of many non-African countries to contribute financially, but not through deployment of their troops. The force began as a relatively small observer mission, but as the conflict intensified, security deteriorated and efforts to reach an anticipated peace agreement floundered, the mission expanded, reaching some 8,000 African troops at the height of its deployment. 5

6 AMIS: Force Generation Challenges Troop contributing countries were without a strategic airlift capability and this made them reliant on external support to deploy troops and equipment – delays in deployment. TCCs were at a low level of readiness and in need of extensive training and preparation prior to deploying TCC forces in-theater lacked essential equipment such as radios, vehicles, patrol rations and APCs negatively affecting their mobility and ability to operate effectively – quality of COEs was poor. TCC forces lacked in-theatre logistics capability necessary to establish infrastructures and sustain operations. External support was critical to address these shortfalls. Air transport by NATO aircraft; the construction of military positions, accommodation and the provision of rations by Pacific Architects and Engineers, the provision of 105 APCs complete with in-theatre training and maintenance on loan from the Canadian military, were some of the mitigating efforts to support the fledgling AMIS operation Indeed, the mission was entirely funded by foreign donors, mostly from the EU and NATO. Force generation challenges were compounded by other problems: a weak mandate that did not allow troops to use force to protect civilians even under imminent threat, weak institutional support from an inexperienced and under- resourced AU Secretariat and impediments to operations imposed by the Government of Sudan and opposition militia. Poor financial administration resulted in soldiers going without receiving salaries for months Due to unpredictable, assured and adequate external assistance and support for force generation and operations, AMIS was unable to achieve its mission. The mission became impossible, and a beleaguered force was rendered unable to protect the beleaguered people of Darfur. 6

7 UNAMID: The Evolution of a Hybrid Operation With the conflict still raging and demand among the international community for a more effective military solution, a more robust solution was sought. Following a High Level Meeting convened in Addis Ababa by Kofi Annan and Alpha Konare on 16 November 2006, the United Nations began a gradual and phased support to AMIS in the form a Light- Support and Heavy-support package. Calls for more robust military intervention continued. A joint AU-UN troops-to-task assessment mission recommended a 19,555-strong military force, 6,432, and Formed Police Units making a total uniformed force of 26,000 uniformed personnel, the largest UN peacekeeping mission to date. In June 2006, the AU and UN agreed that the UN would take over AMIS and oversee its expansion, (UNSCR 1706) but there was strong opposition from the Government of Sudan. Later a compromise solution was reached; chapter seven-mandate hybrid operation run jointly by the AU and UN was authorized. This mission was named UNAMID (UNSCR ). A central feature of this arrangement was that the UNAMID military force would primarily comprise of troops with predominantly African character. The AU and UN would share command and control of the Mission by jointly agreeing to senior mission appointments: Joint Special Representative, two Deputy Joint Special Representatives and a Force Commander, and by situating command and control of the force at the mission-level. Command and control structures, financial administration, and overall management of the operation and minimum standards for force generation would be in accordance with UN standards, principles and established practices. A Joint Support and Coordination Mechanism was established alongside AU headquarters in Addis Ababa to facilitate coordination and foster a close partnership between the AU and UN. 7

8 UNAMID Forces Objectives and Concept of Operations African countries were called upon to generate much larger force to help stabilize the situation in Darfur, this time in conjunction with the UN. UNAMID force was tasked with protecting civilians, facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance and protecting the missions personnel and property. The force would be need widely dispersed, highly mobile, able to move forces rapidly in response to developing crises and militarily capable enough to deter violence, including in a pre-emptive manner. The force would primarily comprise of mobile infantry companies, with possibility of mechanized infantry. Units would be expected to patrol proactively, including at night, and airmobile patrols would be available to deliver infantry quickly to remote areas to provide security when needed. The authorized force structure comprises of 18 infantry battalions; four infantry reserve companies; three surveillance companies; three fixed wing surveillance aircraft; six to eight helicopters for tactical use; 18 military utility helicopters; up to 120 liaison officers; and 240 military observers. Presently, the force is at 87 percent deployment The 18 utility helicopters and three surveillance aircraft have not yet been pledged to the mission. The force is largely supplied by Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Ethiopia, Egypt, South Africa, Burkina Faso and Tanzania 8

9 Darfur: A Challenging Area of Operations (AO) The area of operations (AO) is geographically large, approximately the same size as France; remote, with the nearest sea port some 1,000 miles from the AO; The population is spread widely across the entire AO in displacement camps, rural villages, towns and temporary nomadic settlements. In the dry season it is extremely hot; in the rainy season wadis flood and roads become muddy and impassable; and in the season in-between vast sandstorms blow across the region severely reducing visibility, affecting equipment and hampering flights. There is very little pre-existing infrastructure in place. Water, wood, locally sourced food and building materials are scarce including gravel. Patrols often find themselves outgunned by belligerent forces due to the governments insistence on units removing heavy caliber weapons from the forces APCs. In light of these challenges, forces deployed to Darfur are operating in a tough environment in pursuit of an even tougher mission: keeping peace where there is no peace to keep. 9

10 UNAMID Force Generation Challenges African countries that have contributed troops to UNAMID have experienced a number of challenges: Limited Airlift Capability: Few African countries possess a strategic airlift or expeditionary capability. The US has helped in providing transport aircrafts Lack of Equipment: Many African TCCs do not have equipment such as armoured vehicles, communications gadgets, and specialized personal equipment required to safely and effectively carry out operations in Darfur. Logistical Challenges: Many TCCs do not have the equipment and resources needed to independently establish and maintain robust in-theatre supply chains. This shortfall has been partially met by outsourcing logistics, accommodation and other infrastructure and transported rations and equipment overland throughout the AO. Lack of utility helicopters and medium transport aircrafts: contracted aircraft and helicopters are being used for in-theatre air transport operations, and these are less flexible than military aviation units. Inadequate Training and Experience: Many of the troops designated for peacekeeping in Darfur required additional training to ensure they meet the minimum standards to carry out their mission effectively. Pressure on contributing African countries to provide a relatively large number of soldiers from a relatively small pool of experienced troops often lead them to provide young and inexperienced troops. Female Peacekeepers: Deploying a good proportion of female peacekeepers to Darfur because of the peculiar culture of the people was a major challenge because of inadequate female in most African Armed Forces Shortage of Funds : Although, the missions operating costs are financed from UN member states assessed funds, shortage of funds for COEs and pre-deployment obligations was a challenge to many of the TCCs. 10

11 Advantages of the Hybrid Solution The deployment of African peacekeepers to Darfur ahead of non-African peacekeepers presents many significant benefits. African military units deployed to Darfur can better appreciate the security and livelihood concerns of Darfuri communities than military units from heavily urbanized, industrialized countries, The hybrid arrangement combines the advantages of a regional approach led by the AU with the benefits of the UNs experience, expertise and systems. The partnership affords the AU and African TCCs the opportunity to develop their capacity to contribute more effectively to future peacekeeping operations in Africa and beyond 11

12 Conclusion The security arrangement partnership between AU-UN as exemplified by UNAMID is a new paradigm in Peacekeeping Operations Generating such a sizeable force to operate in such a demanding environment has challenged African troop contributing countries to a considerable degree, along with the AU, UN and international stakeholders African TCCs required considerable external assistance; nonetheless, they have made considerable contributions to PKO in Darfur. However, a long-term capacity-building is vital if African countries are to become less reliant on external assistance and more adept at force generation in the future Regardless of the challenges being faced by African TCCs in generating and sustaining a force for UNAMID, international acceptable standards will still be expected from them. Above all, this presentation acknowledges the considerable efforts being made by African soldiers in Darfur, the personnel in their home countries who are supporting them, and the African leaders who have committed them to a challenging and dangerous mission. Evidently, African Troops in Darfur are trying to do a lot with a little, in difficult circumstances, for Darfurians who desperately need their help. 12

13 Thank You Questions?


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