Sunday, May 22, 2022

No decision made on enlarging Botswana contingent in Darfur

The government of Botswana is currently not considering sending more troops to Sudan’s Dafur region.

Presidential spokesperson, Jeff Ramsay, said the issue of raising the troop level from the current number of 14 men after one was killed during a raid on a base he was stationed in has never been raised at any level.

“What I can tell you is that the issue has never been discussed at any level of the government,” he said.
He did not say whether it would be discussed in future or not but only said, “I do not know about that.”
The death of the Botswana Defence Force major who was killed in Dafur angered some Batswana some of whom even called for the withdrawal of all the military observers currently on that assignment.
This, they said, was so because the Dafurians seem not to want peace.

Besides that, the minister of Presidential Affairs under whom the BDF falls, Phandu Skelemani, had also responded angrily to the killing and said that if the security situation did not improve in the country, they might have to pull out their contingent.

Before that, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, who is a former Commander of the BDF and now retired, Lieutenant General Momphati Merafhe, had during a press conference said that he would find it difficult to convince the government of Botswana to send more troops to Sudan if they will not be under the command of the United Nations.

Some African countries have recently started pledging to send troops to Darfur. The latest of such countries was Tanzania which foreign media reports recently as having pledged to send 800 soldiers to Sudan. Outside Africa, China, which has been condemned for not doing much to help bring peace to the country, had pledged to send 300 engineers to the country.

It is reported that engineers are necessary in making sure that deployments are carried out smoothly.
The Dafur crisis is reported to have led to the death of around 200,000 people and displaced millions. The crisis pits the Arab northerners against the southern blacks.

The BDF has, in the past, been deployed for peace keeping missions in countries such as Lesotho, Mozambique and Somalia and were in all those countries commended for a job well done.


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