Sunday, September 20, 2020

Botswana to maintain its presence in Darfur

Nine Botswana Defence Force Peacekeepers currently in the war ravaged Darfur region of Sudan are expected back home at the end of July.

This is according to the BDF Public Relations Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Mogorosi Baatweng. He said these serving officers will be replaced with other officers to maintain the presence of BDF members in that country.

Last year, there was a row after one of the BDF members, Major Gaolatlhwe Tiro, was killed in the area during what is suspected to have been a rebel attack on members of the AU mission in the area.
There has been no report on why they were attacked.

His killing angered ordinary Batswana who said that the troops should be immediately pulled out of the area as the Sudanese seemed not to want to leave with peace amongst themselves.

The Minister of Defence and Security, Phandu Skelemani, also bitterly complained about the incident and threatened that the government might be forced to reassess the presence of BDF members in Sudan and that there was need to reassess their deployment roles.
It appears there is reluctance in the government of Botswana to deploy more troops in the region.

In the past, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Momphati Merafhe, a former commander of the BDF was quoted as saying that he would not advise the government to deploy more troops in Sudan to be under the command of the African Union and that he could reverse that if the command changes to that of the United Nations.

That has happened now but there has been no word on whether the government would consider increasing the number of its troops in the area.

Presidential spokesperson Jeff Ramsay, when asked about this issue, says that the issue has not been discussed in their meetings.

This, observers say, is a clear indication that the government does not want to increase her involvement in the war which has been raging in Sudan.
BDF was in the past involved in peace missions in Mozambique and Lesotho. The missions were both described as having been a great success.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

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